The Toronto Maple Leafs are still alive in their series against the
San Jose Sharks - Mike Gartner scored in OT to give the Leafs a 3-2 victory.
Once again, the only thing predictable about this series is the
unpredicable. This was not a blowout for either side - it was extremely even
all around. Wendel Clark scored ~5min into the game to give the Leafs a 1-0
lead. The Leafs dominated the first period. In the second, the Sharks
dominated the play, and Larionov scored off a turnover with a blast from 30-ft
out to tie the game 1-1 after 2. In the third, the teams took turns carrying
the play - Clark scored again to give the Leafs a lead. Only 2:02 later,
Norton scored off the point for the Sharks.
In OT, the Sharks dominated the first 5 minutes and had two glorious
opportunities to win. Garpenlov broke in on the wing and blasted a rocket
which went over Potvin's shoulder, but drilled the crossbar. A couple of
minutes later, the Sharks had a 3-on-2. Ozolinsh got the pass from Garpenlov
right in front but decided to try to pass to the other wing to Larionov and
the Sharks lost the chance. After that point, the Leafs started to get their
forechecking going, and Gartner banked one in off Irbe from the side of the
net after a turnover.
So, the Leafs are still alive. I'm not even going to try to predict what's
going to happen on Saturday. But this win has got to give them a huge lift.
If the Sharks do win the series, I'm happy they'll have to do it in 7
because referee Bill Mccreary was absolutely *brutal* through the first two
periods. There were missed calls on both sides, but the Leafs in particular
got the shaft terribly early. Mark Osborne got a goaltender interference
penalty for the offense of being crosschecked behind twice into Irbe.
Peter Zezel collided with Irbe about 15 feet outside the crease, and Irbe
hurled himself into the air to draw another penalty. Makarov drew a penalty
by grabbing his face when the Leaf player (who was hacking at his arms) did
not have his stick about his waist. On the Leafs side, Gartner lucked out in
the third when he clearly caught a Sharks player with a high stick (though
it looked accidental) but was not called. Overall, pretty poor performance by
the officials. I lost a little respect for Makarov and Irbe - the rather
blatant attempts to influence the refs don't have any part in that kind of
game, in my opinion. Nevertheless, both teams played well and hopefully we'll
have another good game on Saturday.