The San Jose Sharks finally rewarded their fans with a home victory in the Western Conference Finals, but not before giving them some nervous moments.
For most of Game 3 on Friday night, the Sharks looked nothing like the team that lost Games 1 and 2 in Vancouver. Patrick Marleau scored two of San Jose's three goals in the first period, and the Sharks led 4-1 with time starting to wind down in the third period.
But Vancouver didn't win the Presidents' Trophy for nothing, and a five-minute major to Jamie McGinn led to a pair of power-play goals that made the 17,562 fans nervous. In the end, though, the Sharks held on for a 4-3 win – their first ever in six conference final games at the Shark Tank.
The Tampa Bay Lightning hopes for a similar boost from its home crowd in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday afternoon against Boston (1:30 p.m. ET, NBC, TSN, RDS). The Bolts trail 2-1 after Thursday night's 2-0 home loss.
As you get ready for that one, here's your daily NHL.com Reading List, a set of quick links to some of the stories you won't want to miss:
Marleau on a roll
Former teammate Jeremy Roenick, now a Versus analyst, ripped Patrick Marleau after Game 5 of the conference semifinals against Detroit. Since then, as Eric Gilmore reports, Marleau has been on a roll -- he extended his goal-scoring streak to four games with a pair in Game 3.
Fast start produces a win
It's always easier playing from ahead, especially at playoff time. San Jose couldn't build on early leads in Games 1 and 2, but Dan Rosen reports that they were able to do so in Game 3 -- turning an early 1-0 lead into a 3-0 bulge after one period on the way to a 4-3 win.
Canucks not very special
The scoresheet shows Vancouver scored twice on the power play in Game 3. What it doesn't indicate, says Dan Rosen, is the chance the Canucks missed to change the game with a pair of 5-on-3 opportunities in the second period -- and Vancouver's continuing struggles to kill penalties.
Hall finds his niche
Not every kid who grows up as a big scorer makes the NHL because of his ability to put the puck in the net. Corey Masisak talks with Tampa Bay's Adam Hall, who's had to work hard to make the transition from a big scorer as a kid to a hard-working role player with the Lightning.
The real Lucic stands up
There have been nights during the playoffs when Milan Lucic hasn't recognized himself -- he wasn't producing offensively, winning puck battles or helping the Boston Bruins win. Shawn P. Roarke reports that Lucic put all those problems aside in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, making a difference physically and on the scoresheet in Boston's 2-0 win at Tampa Bay.
Huberdeau turning heads
Justin Huberdeau had a goal Friday night in Saint John's 4-3 win against Mississauga at the Memorial Cup. Bill Hoppe has more about one of the players likely to go very early in the NHL Entry Draft next month.