10 For 10 in the ’10’s: Greatest San Jose Sharks Games in the 2010’s
What if I told you while the ultimate celebration wasn’t achieved, there was plenty to celebrate? That’s what you can say about this dominant decade that is coming to the close for the San Jose Sharks in the 2010’s. This was a decade that saw Team Teal make the playoffs nine of ten seasons, reach the Western Conference Final four times, and one great Spring when San Jose pulled within two wins of hoisting Lord Stanley over their heads. Countless All-Star appearances, Olympic medals, NHL award achievements also added to the excitement of the decade.
Let’s take a look back at the decade with the best games in the 2010’s. Putting the top five was fairly easy. Figuring out where they should go, in order, was tough. Finding which top ten games of the decade put on the list was even tougher.
HONORABLE MENTION – February 28, 2010 Olympic Men’s Hockey Gold Medal Game: Canada 3, USA 2 – OT
I know, you’re already thinking, “hey Puckguy, this isn’t a Sharks game!” It isn’t. However, it was a game that featured five Sharks players playing for the biggest international hockey prize, Olympic gold.
Vancouver was the site, where Joe Pavelski would set up Zach Parise’s tying goal under a half minute left in regulation to send the game into overtime. Sidney Crosby would score the “golden goal” but Teal Town would be home to five of eight Sharks receiving medals. Dan Boyle, Dany Heatley, Patrick Marleau, and Joe Thornton would all get gold. Pavelski would settle for silver. Sweden’s Douglas Murray, Germany’s Thomas Greiss, and Russia’s Evgeni Nabokov would return from British Columbia empty handed.
10 – February 25, 2015: 2015 NHL Stadium Series – Kings 2, Sharks 1
Again, you’re likely going “Puckguy, one of the 10 greatest games of the 2010’s is a loss?! WTF?!” Sure, it was a loss. Even worse a loss to your archrival, the Los Angeles Kings. But when you have 70,205 fans, mostly in some form of Pacific Teal, it deserves to be up here. No one gave it a chance that the Sharks could fill up the brand new Levi’s Stadium. No one gave it a chance after the Kings and Ducks didn’t sell out Dodger Stadium the year before.
The parking lot was buzzing. Tailgate parties, something not permitted at the Shark Tank were full on. And when Brent Burns scored the Sharks lone goal, those 70, 205 were pumped.
For myself, what was once “Pucknology” was given media access for the first time. I do have the honor of being one of the first to skate on the Levi’s Stadium ice two nights before the game.
9. The Jumbo Slide – April 25, 2011: Game 6 Western Conference Quarterfinals – Sharks 4, Kings 3 – OT
For the third time in the series, the Sharks and Kings went into overtime. And for the third time in the series, the Sharks would get the overtime winner. This game-winner from Joe Thornton sealed the series for San Jose in six games. While the Kings were on the cusp of greatness, the Sharks had taken this series, one they needed to keep their status of the best in California. This one known for the “Jumbo Slide” remains one to remember in Sharks history.
8. The First Sweep – May 7, 2013: Game 4 Western Conference Quarterfinals – Sharks 4, Canucks 3 – OT
San Jose would get revenge for its loss in the 2011 Western Conference Final, by beating the Vancouver Canucks in four straight. It would be the first time Team Teal would sweep an opponent in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. After having a lead, Vancouver would take the lead midway through the third period, only to be tied when Joe Pavelski tied it on a power play.
In overtime, San Jose would have numerous chances including a 3-0n-1 where the scoring chance hit the post. Daniel Sedin shoved Tommy Wingels into the boards and was called for Boarding. The Sharks quickly jumped on the power play and Patrick Marleau put in a leaky rebound past Cory Schneider to win the series.
7. Epic Finish to an Epic Series – May 12, 2011: Game 7 Western Conference Semifinals – Sharks 3, Red Wings 2
Remember that time where the Sharks were almost reverse swept? No, no, I’m not talking about the one that took place, but back in 2011. Devin Setoguchi had a hat trick, including the game-winning goal to give the Sharks a 3-0 series lead. Detroit came all the way back and forced a Game 7. It was one for the ages.
Patrick Marleau, who was called “gutless” by former teammate and NBC Sports analyst Jeremy Roenick, scored one point in the series. That point turned out to be the series-winning goal in Game 7. San Jose would advance to its second consecutive Western Conference Final.
6. Hertl Hits the Jackpot – April 21, 2019: Game 6 Western Conference First Round – Sharks 2, Golden Knights 1 – 2OT
Team Teal would go down 3-1 to the Golden Knights in this first round series but would find a way to avoid elimination in Game 5. Game 6 would go into double overtime where Barclay Goodrow would take a questionable slashing penalty. Marc-Edouard Vlasic would feed the puck to Tomas Hertl and a quick shot beat Marc-Andre Fleury. It would be the first time the Sharks would force a Game 7 after trailing 3-1 in a playoff series in one of the few Sharks victories on the Las Vegas Strip.
5. Hertl Scores Four – October 8, 2013: Sharks 9, Rangers 2
Before “fun must be always”, 19-year old Tomas Hertl went on a crazy tear. In the previous game versus the Coyotes, Tomas scored his first two NHL goals. In this one, Hertl would take a nice backhand pass from Andrew Desjardins and deflect the puck past Henrik Lundquist. That same period, Hertl springs on a breakaway and, with his silky hands, makes Marty Biron look silly for his second goal. For the hat trick, Hertl banged home a rebound and hats flew off the ice. However, what will forever be remembered is Hertl receiving a feed from Jason Demers, skating in on a breakaway, and “disrespecting the league” as Adam Oates called it, and Tomas went between the legs to beat Biron a fourth time.
Hertl would become an instant sensation after the game, not just for his achievement, but how he did it. Biron retired a week later and joined TSN as a panelist. Joe Thornton would be quoted, off the record in Vancouver, about how he would have his… ahem… rooster out if he scored four goals. Hence, the term Rooster Watch is now a thing when a Sharks player is looking for his fourth goal.
4. The Stunner at Staples – April 19, 2011: Game 3 Western Conference Quarterfinals – Sharks 6, Kings 5 – OT
After a minute into the second period of Game 3, San Jose was down 4-0 to the Los Angeles Kings. Following a goaltender change, the Sharks began one of the biggest comebacks in Stanley Cup Playoff history. San Jose would get goals from Patrick Marleau, Ryane Clowe, and Logan Couture to cut the lead down to one. Following a Kings goal by Ryan Smyth, Clowe would score again to make it 5-4. Just moments after that, Joe Pavelski scores in the last minute of the wildest second periods ever to tie the game at 5-5.
After a goalless third period, Devin Setoguchi stikes in overtime after taking a cross ice pass and burying it past Jonathan Quick. Team Teal took the series lead and never looked back, beating the Kings in six games.
3. How the West Was Won – May 25, 2016: Game 6 Western Conference Final – Sharks 5, Blues 2
Elimination Day in Northern California. San Jose dominated this game from the get go. Joel Ward would score two goals including the series winner, Joonas Donskoi and Joe Pavelski had goals as well. And while the Blues would score twice in the third, the Sharks’ Logan Couture buried an empty net goal with 19 seconds left.
It would be the first time the Sharks would win the Western Conference, and head to the Stanley Cup Final. As for the then-named Pucknology After Dark, we ended up being on the air for almost 3 1/2 hours!
That was a night many of us will never forget.
2. Joonas Donskoi OT Winner – June 4, 2016: Game 3 Stanley Cup Final – Sharks 3, Penguins 2 – OT
After two tight one goal games in Pittsburgh, the Sharks played the first Stanley Cup Final home game in team history. Trailing each time, the Sharks would tie it at 1-1 on a Justin Braun shot that Penguins netminder Matt Murray never saw coming. Then in the third period, Joel Ward at the end of an extended power play slaps on past Murray to tie it at 2-2.
Overtime would see both teams have chances. But Joonas Donskoi would turn, fire, and somehow get the puck into a tight spot past Murray for the Sharks’ first win in June. Team Teal had life in the Stanley Cup Final and the dream was coming closer to reality. They may have lost the series in six, but a magical ride in the Spring of 2016 will forever be in the hearts of Sharks fans.
After Dark would celebrate this huge victory:
1. The Payback – April 23, 2019: Game 7 Western Conference First Round – Sharks 5, Golden Knights 4 – OT
San Jose was down 3-1 to the Vegas Golden Knights. Vegas scoring within the first five minutes was consistent as it was painful for Sharks fans. Game 5 felt like it was going to be a slow, painful funeral. Then the Sharks pulled out a victory at home. Game 6 went to double overtime where Vegas had a power play, but Tomas Hertl‘s shorthanded overtime goal forced Game 7.
The crowd was into it early. Midway through the opening frame, the Knights’ William Karlsson scored to make it 1-0. Cody Eakin, with the closest of high stick deflections, made it 2-0 in the second. Early in the third period, Max Pacioretty scored on a goal Martin Jones should’ve had to make it 3-0.
I was at this game. I paid $150 last minute for a ticket in the last row in section 212. The score was Vegas 3, San Jose 0, when I ran into a member of the Sharks front office and thanked him for assisting us all season. He said, “why are you thanking me? Aren’t you ready for the greatest comeback in Sharks history?”
It was around that time we heard a groan from the sellout crowd. Someone was hurt. Badly. I stuck my head in the top of the section at 112 to see Joe Pavelski being helped off the ice by his teammates. San Jose was awarded a five minute power play. I have always stated in order to make any team pay, it’s to score on the power play or else they will continue taking liberties on your team. And suddenly, I saw a team determined to change the outcome of the night.
Logan Couture scores six seconds into the power play and shouts to the bench, “THAT’S ONE!”
Less than a minute later, Tomas Hertl deflects an Erik Karlsson shot to make it 3-2, with four minutes of power play time left. The crowd getting louder, you can feel the desire to tie it.
For some reason, I decided to record the rest of the power play. And with nearly a minute and a half left on the penalty, Logan ties it and the place just goes completely insane.
I had never heard the Shark Tank that loud until Kevin Labanc gave the Sharks the lead a few moments after tying the game.
As I was setting up for the postgame live report, I felt sick when I saw Jonathan Marchessault tie the game with a minute left.
Then overtime. I was sick to my stomach. Then Erik Karlsson fed Barclay Goodrow a pass and, with a power move, and a shot, the Sharks win 5-4. San Jose wins the series 4-3. You can’t forget this moment.
So that’s our Top 10 for the ’10’s. Did we miss a game? Let us know in the comment section. Here’s to the ’20’s taking us to newer levels we’ve never seen from the San Jose Sharks.
Until next time, keep it real, keep it teal, keep it real teal.