Before he became Game 7’s unlikely hero against the Golden Knights, before he etched his name into San Jose Sharks’ lore, center Barclay Goodrow sat and waited.
The 26-year-old was benched midway through the second period and took only five shifts in the third and overtime combined. But his fresh legs prevailed when he took a pass from teammate Erik Karlsson, skated around defenseman Brayden McNabb and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and scored to send the Sharks to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs with a 5-4 victory.
“I saw Erik get the puck in the middle there, the D, he was kind of flat-footed, so I tried to skate and maybe get behind him, and Erik made a great pass to me and I was able to just get it on frame,” Goodrow said. “To be honest, I can’t really remember what just happened. It was a pretty surreal moment. Definitely the biggest moment of my career.”
Goodrow, who centers the Sharks’ fourth line, took only 13 shifts in the game because his team shortened its bench early. He was on the ice for each of the Knights’ first two goals and didn’t play between center Cody Eakin’s goal 10 minutes into the second period and a defensive zone faceoff with 3:11 left in the third.
That meant he was well rested for the second straight overtime game between the teams. Goodrow played 7:26 in Game 7 and 16:03 in Game 6, while the Knights’ skaters on the ice for his goal — McNabb at 28:52, Shea Theodore at 27:24, Mark Stone at 28:53, Max Pacioretty at 23:42 and Tomas Nosek at 15:41 in Game 7 — had played a lot more hockey.
“That’s a testament to our group,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. “He (Goodrow) didn’t play a lot tonight. I thought his line had a tough start. They got scored on a couple times early, and they were playing from behind and shortened the bench. He was sitting there for a while, and we started to fatigue as the overtime went on because of the short bench with (forward Joe) Pavelski out.
“We went back to him, and that’s what it’s about. A guy like that keeping himself ready to jump over the boards and make a play.”
Game 7 marked the third time the Knights were called for a five-minute major and the first time they allowed four power-play goals in a game.
Cody Eakin was given a controversial five-minute major for cross-checking and a game misconduct, and the Sharks scored four times in 4:01.
“It’s a shame that happened,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “We should be playing the next game.”
Previously, forward Ryan Reaves was given a five-minute major for interference and a game misconduct Dec. 8 against the Washington Capitals. The Knights didn’t allow a goal on his penalty.
Forward Erik Haula was given a five-minute major for slashing and a game misconduct in Game 2 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final, but the call was made after the final whistle.
Game 7’s 0.81 overnight rating on NBC Sports Network was the channel’s best mark for a first-round late game in eight years and its second-best mark for a late game on record, behind the Vancouver Canuck’s 2-1 Game 7 overtime win over the Chicago Blackhawks on April 26, 2011.
Games 6 and 7 ice time
1. Brent Burns, D, Sharks — 81:41
2. Erik Karlsson, D, Sharks — 70:26
3. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, D, Sharks — 64:50
4. Brayden McNabb, D, Knights — 64:26
5. Justin Braun, D, Sharks — 61:55
31. Barclay Goodrow, C, Sharks — 23:29