When the San Jose Sharks flipped Dany Heatley to the Minnesota Wild for Martin Havlat in July 2011, they traded a playoff disappointment (five goals in Heatley's last 32 playoff games) for a playoff star (12 goals in Havlat's last 26 playoff games).
In Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals at the St. Louis Blues, Havlat made GM Doug Wilson look like a very, very smart man — scoring the game-winning goal at 3:34 of double-overtime for a 3-2 victory.
Havlat deserves credit for that rocket one-timer that solved Jaroslav Halak. But check out the incredible work done on this shift by linemates Ryane Clowe, who had the primary assist, and Logan Couture, who had the other helper.
Couture had two shots during the sequence, broke up a clearing attempt by Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to keep the cycle going and then set a pick on Vladamir Sobotka to give Clowe room for the pass to Havlat.
[ Video: Kelly's game-winning goal for Bruins ]
The Sharks have taken their licks over the years for playoff disappointments. Couture has already proven himself as an exception to that 18 points in his first 33 playoff games.
Now, with Havlat scoring twice in his Sharks playoff debut — he had a first-period power-play goal — this San Jose squad may have more postseason potential than their No. 7 seed would indicate.
For the Blues, it was a frustrating loss, having given up a third-period lead with just under six minutes remaining. Patrik Berglund scored both goals; but David Backes, T.J. Oshie and David Perron combined for zero points and a minus-3 against a solid Antti Niemi (40 saves). Not the start a young team wants in the postseason.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Ice Hockey
- Martin Havlat
- Dany Heatley
- San Jose Sharks
- Logan Couture
- Ryane Clowe