Patrick Sharp wasn’t going to let a stick to his face stop him from getting off a shot. Funny thing is, it wasn’t so much a shot as it was a slight swing at it.
Hey, it worked.
“All the good shots I’ve had in the series, it’s funny that one kind of rolls off my stick and in,” said Sharp of the “shot” that proved to be his first postseason goal. “It was a good time to get one.”
The goal that St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said was a backbreaker for his team was a much-needed slump-buster for the Chicago Blackhawks’ left wing. Sharp had been held point-less for the first five games of the first-round series. His shot totals were high, as they usually are; he had 23 for the series, including seven in Game 4. But on a night where he only took two, he connected.
Sharp said he wasn’t bothered by the point drought.
“I’ve been through stretches like that before as the guy that’s supposed to score goals,” he said. “You just have to keep shooting, keep skating, doing the right things out there to help your team.”
That goal, however, proved to be a massive help. It gave the Blackhawks a two-goal lead, something that’s been rare in this postseason. It came just one minute and 17 seconds after Jonathan Toews’ game-winner. And it proved to be a big blow to the Blues.
“The goal was a backbreaker. It was a backbreaker,” said Hitchcock, who coached Sharp in Philadelphia and remains good friends with him. “The bench was still fine. Our team had great spirit at the start and great spirit through the first and second period. To play as well as we've ever played in this building was the way we played the first two periods, and then the third goal, the air went right out of the bench."
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Teammates were happy to see Sharp get off the schneid.
“I know he’s switching sticks between shifts, working hard and was snake bit. But it’s nice for him to get that first one,” Bryan Bickell said. “Confidence in any sport goes a long way. We need him for the next round, definitely.”
Sharp was waiting for that first goal. He was shooting at every chance trying to get it and finally did on a shot that wasn’t really a shot. When you’re a goal scorer, you’ll take whatever breaks the scoreless skid. For Sharp, however, it’s about the big picture, not his stats.
“It’s not about me, really. It’s a big win out there tonight,” Sharp said. “We had a lot of guys contribute and there’s a lot of talk about not scoring goals, but it feels good to put one in there. Like I said, it’s not about me scoring. It’s about our team winning a big game.”