Last May the dream finally came true = the San Jose Sharks defeated the St. Louis Blues to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in their existence. They would face the Pittsburgh Penguins, who were trying to earn their 4th Stanley Cup (and 2nd of the Sidney Crosby era). Simply put, I wasn't about to miss this. There was an extra level of motivation for me, as I would soon be leaving California for good. Here are the photos from Stanley Cup Final Game 4, my last San Jose Sharks game as a California resident.
Walking up to the SAP Center from the train station.
Patrick Marleau was drafted in 1997 (right behind current teammate Joe Thornton), and had yet to participate in a Stanley Cup Final.
Oh yeah, that's right... internationally televised California hockey. Woo....
Young fan dressed for the occasion.
Pinch me, it can't be real!
The last Penguins Conn Smythe winner (boo... although I was definitely rooting for them that year against the Detroit Red Wings).
Joe Thornton's beard... and Joe Thornton.
Cue the Star Wars Empire theme...
It's worth noting that the Penguins were leading the series 2 games to 1.
Sidney Crosby at warm-ups.
Brent Burns' man-bun has magic powers.
Would Phil Kessel finally earn a Stanley Cup ring?
From left, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, and Justin Braun.
Sidney Crosby is actually looking directly into my camera (zoom in!).
The team on the left, please...
Blood pressure rising...
METALLICA!!! (Fun fact - my first Metallica concert was in this arena in 1996).
I took this entrance for granted for years... kinda weird to think I wouldn't see it on a regular basis anymore.
"Win it for Patty..."
Logan Couture, Justin Braun, Patrick Marleau, and Joonas Donskoi.
Kris Letang, Brian Dumoulin, Patric Hornqvist, Chris Kunitz, and Sidney Crosby.
James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett of Metallica did the national anthem (and did it extremely well, as they always do).
Opening faceoff, and the game was underway!
Sharks bench, with coach Peter DeBoer at the helm.
Penguins bench, with new-ish coach Mike Sullivan replacing Mike Johnston. Would lightning strike three times for the Penguins, who had won the Stanley Cup twice (1992 and 2009) immediately after firing their coach mid-season?
Joe Pavelski vs. Matt Cullen.
Drat... the first goal would go to Ian Cole of the Penguins, 7:36 into the first period. It was his first goal of the post-season.
A good approximation of my view.
The Sharks would end up with more shots on goal, but it's the ones that sneak through that count.
The ugly blogger found himself on the Jumbotron (thanks, Edwin).
Evgeni Malkin would make it 2-0, Pens, just two and a half minutes into the second period, and only 9 seconds into their power play (Melker Karlsson, interference).
Sergio Romo of the San Francisco Giants was in the house.
James Hetfield gets the crowd back into the game.
The Sharks, in the Penguins' zone.
Former Shark (and cousin to Jumbo Joe) Scott Thornton was also in the house.
Weeeeee!!!! Melker Karlsson makes amends for earlier by getting Team Teal on the board.
The Pens still led, 2-1.
And the Sharks still led on shots on goal...
The Penguins got a late insurance goal from Eric Fehr to make it 3-1.
Sadly enough, the score would also reflect the series, with the Pens just needing one more win to secure Lord Stanley's Cup, and the Sharks needing to be perfect the rest of the way.
Two games later, back in San Jose after a Game 5 in Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Penguins would defeat the San Jose Sharks to win their 4th Stanley Cup in franchise history. Sidney Crosby was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy, though he only had 4 points (all assists) in the Stanley Cup Finals (6 goals and 13 assists total in the playoffs).