That the San Jose Sharks have the brooms out for the Detroit Red Wings was stunning on its own; and then you realize the two poster boys for their annual postseason malfunction combined to win Game 3 at the Joe.
These aren't the goats, the frauds, the playoff teases in teal we've gleefully skewered the Sharks for being over the years. They're made of sterner stuff than that.
This was evident after the first round, too. Yes, even after the "own goal" heard 'round the hockey world from Dan Boyle(notes). In fact, especially after the Boyle goal: Please recall he scored to open the next game, which the Sharks bounced back to win from the Colorado Avalanche. They put the Avs away in six, which Joe Pavelski(notes) said was a test his team had passed: Hard work and maximum effort yielded positive results.
In Game 3 against the Wings Tuesday night, they were down 3-1 in the third period. Then Joe Thornton scored his second goal in two games -- his first back-to-back playoff tallies since 2002.
Then they got lucky when Jimmy Howard(notes) played like a rookie for an instant. The bad angle goal to Logan Couture with 6:43 left in regulation was one of the most unforgivable goalie gaffes of the playoffs, and suddenly the game was tied 3-3.
Howard nearly found redemption in overtime, making a few key saves and earning a "Jimmy, Jimmy" chant from the crowd. But he was certainly part of what went wrong on the game-winner.
The primary problem for the Wings was Jason Williams's(notes) wild high shot that trapped Detroit in the offensive zone while springing the Sharks. Thornton skated down the right wing, with Marleau streaking to the net. Howard overcommitted to playing Thornton for the shot, and the Sharks center threaded the needled to his former captain past Brian Rafalski(notes) for what amounted to a tap-in.
From the contributions up and down the lineup to the resiliency of the rally to the lack of intimidation facing a postseason tormentor like the Red Wings, there's something different about this Sharks team.
There are still going to be those among us waiting for the new and exciting ways San Jose will squander a 3-0 series lead and break more hearts. The rest of us will be attempting to readjust to a world in which teal is no longer an automatic harbinger of postseason disaster.