SAN JOSE- He may not have size and he may not have speed, but everything he lacks he makes up in savvy! OK, that was a failed attempt at rewording a line from the classic Offspring song ‘Pretty fly for a White Guy”.
Sharks center Joe Pavelski is not big (5’11″ 190 pounds), is not fleet of foot, and therefore is not the prototypical ‘sexy’ hockey player. But he sure is a total puck magnet.
On Tuesday, Pavelski’s San Jose Sharks defeated the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 in overtime to sweep their best-of-seven series four games to none.
Patrick Marleau scored the overtime winner on another power-play but it was Pavelski’s heroics on the man advantage with less than five minutes remaining that tied things up at three.
It was Pavelski’s second goal of the night and eighth point of the series. At the end of Tuesday’s action, those eight points have him tied with teammate Logan Couture for the most points of any skater thus far in the postseason.
But it’s not just about the offensive contributions from Pavelski. The American born center kills penalties and lays out to block shots. It is hard for anyone to recall the last time Pavelski went down to block a shot and it didn’t hit him. This whole puck magnet thing works in weird ways, it must mean he’s a pretty good player, right coach?
“I hear that line you just used when people are talking about pretty damn good players.” commented Sharks head coach Todd McLellan when asked if the puck likes to follow Pavelski around. “I’m not gonna compare [Pavelski] to Gretzky, but the puck followed Gretzky around, the puck followed [Mario] Lemieux around. The puck seems to follow Pav around but he’s smart enough to know where to go to get it.”
Before the series started I mentioned on my friends radio show that Pavelski would be San Jose’s x-factor in this series. The Sharks took off in the regular season after putting Pavelski, who was playing as a top-line wing, back to his natural center position but on the third line.
Even if the Canucks were to have shut down San Jose’s top two units, they still would have had a tough time with Pavelski as this years Sharks (as currently constructed) come at their opponents in waves. They don’t stop coming.
And regardless of who is wingers are, Pavelski always seems to be generating eons of offensive chances for his club, and that isn’t lost on his teammates.
But does the puck really follow him around?
“It always does, it always has” commented Couture. “He’s got a great hockey IQ, finds pucks around the net and finishes.”
“It does yeah, it’s amazing” added Joe Thornton. “He just always seems to be around the net and he seems to have a knack for putting it in the back of the net.”
Again, Pavelski is not big and he’s not fast, so what is it then? I’m going ahead with the puck magnet theory. Vulcanized rubber simply has the “hots” for the Sharks center.
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