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San Jose Sharks: Recapping the 5 Best Games of the 2011-12 Season

David BarclayCorrespondent IMay 6, 2012

San Jose Sharks: Recapping the 5 Best Games of the 2011-12 Season

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    While most San Jose Sharks fans will define their season as one giant failure after the teams worst postseason effort in franchise history, there were some bright spots and highlights of the 2011-12 campaign.

    The Sharks entered the season regarded as one of the most lethal teams in the NHL, on paper.

    The additions of stars such as Brent Burns and Martin Havlat were thought to be the missing pieces of the puzzle to finally give the Sharks the final push to the promised land and capture their inaugural Stanley Cup.

    Well, that may not have happened.

    The Sharks had spurts and glimpses where fans got to really see the elite team they thought had been put together in the offseason last summer. In this article, I'd like to examine the top five games of the 2011-12 season that showed the Sharks can really be the NHL standard.

October 8 vs. Phoenix Coyotes

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    The season opener found the Sharks screaming right out of the gate.

    The power play was clicking, all four lines scored goals and stock in general manager Doug Wilson immediately began to trend up as all his new players that were added in the offseason had made contributions.

    Most fans will of course remember this game as being the odd case where rookie Andrew Desjardins stole the show, and left the Tank as the games first star.

    It was all in all a great way to start the season and definitely left Sharks fans happy with many more games to come.

November 3 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

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    When the Pittsburgh Penguins and Evgeni Malkin came to town, it marked the first of the two-goal deficits the Sharks would get used to coming back from.

    It also continued the Penguins' winless streak, making the Sharks undefeated at home against the team since 1997.

    Sure, you might remember the Sharks being firmly outplayed by the Penguins from virtually the opening faceoff of this game, but the effort the Sharks showed in the final minutes of the third period made it one of the most exciting contests of the season.

    Rallying from goals that were minutes apart from Ryane Clowe and Jamie McGinn, the Sharks pulled themselves back into the game, and eventually went on to win in a shootout.

November 10 vs. Minnesota Wild

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    November 10 was a date several Sharks fans had circled on their calendar when the season schedule was released.

    It would mark the homecoming of fan-favorite Devin Setoguchi, and Dany Heatley.

    It also marked the first time Brent Burns would be on NHL ice not wearing a Wild jersey.

    Everyone else might have been excited to see Setoguchi return, but Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray had his own idea of a welcome-home gift as he delivered a nice warm hipcheck to the newly acquired ringer in the opening minutes of the contest.

February 28 vs. Philadelphia Flyers

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    The Sharks' lone contest against the Philadelphia Flyers could be described as being easily one of the most exciting games of the season.

    After struggling to stop anybody during a grueling nine-game road trip, Antti Niemi and the San Jose Sharks stopped everything against the NHL's most prolific offense.

    On that road trip, the Sharks had allowed 35 goals, but when the NHL's highest-scoring team came to town, they got nothing.

    Both teams rode stellar performances from their goalies, but a lone goal from Ryane Clowe capped the Sharks' victory in a more-than-physical contest.

April 7 vs. Los Angeles Kings

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    The last two games of the regular season for the Sharks were against their Southern California rival, the Los Angeles Kings.

    And if these games didn't have a playoff feeling to them, I don't know what does.

    The Sharks' first-game victory of the home-and-home series was stamped with an asterisk after Ryane Clowe's stick play from the bench.

    I regard myself as a disciple of being a sportsman and having class, but my animosity towards all sports teams from Southern California, more specifically, L.A., allowed me to just overlook it.

    All joking aside, this two-game series to end the season made me remember why I love hockey so much.

    While the first game had much more scoring, and might have been more action-packed for some fans, there's nothing like an overtime win to me. It's sort of like someone handing you the keys to a Ferarri and saying, "now go find the car."

     

    David Barclay is a lifelong fan of the San Jose Sharks and has been playing hockey since the age of three. Please feel free to offer feedback on all his articles, and talk hockey with him on Twitter, @TheReal_DB3. For every 300 followers, he will donate 1K to an NHL charity!

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