How's your voice doing?
Mine? Yeah, it's not great. Joonas Donskoi delivered an absolutely beautiful goal in overtime to give the San Jose Sharks their first ever Stanley Cup Final victory on Saturday night in front of a raucous crowd.
Yes, the Sharks still trail this series (2-1 now) and yes the game was quite even (at least in terms of shot attempts) — but Sharks fans understand how important this win is. Many waited 25 years for their first taste of Stanley Cup Final action and angst began to set in as San Jose fell behind 2-0 in the series.
Were the Sharks going to win a single game in this series? Is this it? Was winning the Western Conference going to be the pinnacle of the Sharks success in this postseason?
Nope. The Sharks, at the very least, got a foothold in this series and can even things up at SAP Center on Monday. When Donskoi received the give-and-go pass from Tierney and walked around the back of the Pittsburgh net I instinctively stood up off the couch, phone clutched in my hand and was just about ready to plop back down as Donskoi's shot seemed to fly up over the net.
Not so fast. I leapt back up in unison with the 20,000 Sharks fans in the Tank and the hundreds of thousands of fans around the world expelling yet another of the many demons living in our respective closets. All the so-close-but-so-far has made this fanbase a cynical one in many ways. We breathe a sigh of relief when we avoid embarrassing failure at the same time we half-heartedly celebrate.
That's not what it looked like outside SAP Center following the game. "We want the Cup" and "Let's go Sharks" and yes even a "Sharks eat Penguins" chant serenaded the post-game NBC Sports crew seated outside the building. Pure, unadulterated joy lit the faces of the fans as they celebrated checking off a pair of firsts.
Yes, it's the Sharks first Stanley Cup Final win, but it's also the first "lead" for San Jose in their first Final appearance. This game followed the same pattern as the first two: The Sharks chased the Penguins all night long on the scoreboard, but this time they managed to get the final dagger.
With it, new life can be breathed into Sharks fans everywhere. We're back in this series — and I for one can't wait to see the crowd on Monday night.