It’s incredibly painful to lose a playoff game in overtime. It’s even more painful when the overtime goal was scored by a team’s former player. Just ask the Vancouver Canucks, who watched Raffi Torres score the overtime winner to give the San Jose Sharks a 2-0 series lead in the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Not many expected the Canucks to be in this situation once again. Of any of the Western Conference matchups, the Canucks had one of the more favorable ones. They were set to take on a Sharks team that was prone to some pretty large stretches of inconsistency during the regular season.
Even better, this Sharks team has had even larger issues in the postseason than the Canucks have in recent years. Yet, through two games, the Canucks already run the risk of watching this series get away from them.
The Sharks won Game 1 rather easily, taking it by a 3-1 count. Game 2 was a much more tightly contested affair, getting deep into overtime before Torres eventually scored the game winner. Friday’s Game 2 included some late heroics, courtesy of Patrick Marleau, who scored with less than a minute remaining in the game even things up at two.
While a 2-0 lead is anything but a guaranteed advancement, the Sharks have the upper-hand in cruising to a series win because of what they’ve done on home ice this season. The value of home ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Playoffs doesn’t always mean much, but it might for the Sharks.
The Sharks have had their struggles on the road this season, but they’ve been absolutely dominant at HP Pavilion. They’ve lost the fewest games at home in regulation, going 17-2-5 at the tank. That doesn’t bode well for a Canucks team that has hovered around .500 on the road.
San Jose now has a firm hold on this series. Having stolen not one, but two games on the road against Vancouver, it would be a shocker to see them lose this series, given what they’ve managed to do on home ice for this entire season.