Rallying For Captain, Labanc Propels Sharks To Game 7 Comeback

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Rallying For Captain, Labanc Propels Sharks To Game 7 Comeback

Emily Dozier, Staff Writer

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After a 3-0 deficit in the 3rd period, the San Jose Sharks rally back to win the Round 1 NHL playoffs against the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.

What began as a seemingly easy game for Vegas all changed in the final period of regulation when Golden Knight Cody Eakin cross-checked the Sharks’ captain Joe Pavelski. Vegas’s Paul Stastny then shoved Pavelski, sending him to the ground head first. The San Jose captain remained dazed on the ice for several minutes while trainers appeared to assess his bleeding head. This came after Pavelski’s puck-to-face in Game 1 that knocked out teeth and required stitches. Eakin was given a controversial 5 minute major and game misconduct that ultimately “stole” the game from Vegas.

The following four minutes became only the second time that a team scored four goals in one power play. Winger Kevin Labanc quickly led his team to a tie with three assists, before scoring a goal of his own. The Golden Knights forced the game into overtime with a goal in the last minute. San Jose made the final move to win the game 5-4. Lebanc’s all-star leadership propelled the Sharks to the series win after being down 3-1 games. He is now the first NHL player to record four points in a single period of deciding Game 7. “I don’t even know. I’m still kind of awe-struck right now. But yeah, that power play was on point and really came in clutch for us,” said Lebanc about his new record.

Labanc’s elite level of play comes as no surprise to those who followed him throughout his career with Ontario Hockey League’s Barrie Colts. There, he was dubbed the OHL scoring champion in the 2015-16 season and became only the 2nd member to win both the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy and the Jim Mahon Memorial Trophy. That season, he scored 39 goals and 88 assists in as few as 65 games; the 127 total points led the OHL while simultaneously set a franchise season record. Lebanc scored 100+ points with the Colts for two consecutive years, placing him 4th among the franchise all time greats.

The San Jose Sharks will begin Round 2 against the Colorado Avalanche starting Friday.

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