Tuesday, May 28 was the latest ending for a season in the history of the San Jose Sharks.
This was partially because of the late start forced by the NHL lockout. But it was also because this was the fourth-most successful Stanley Cup playoff in franchise history.
Hockey is full of cliches because it is a fundamental sport where basic principles are the most important ingredients to victory. One that applies to the Sharks is "your best players have to play their best come playoff time."
The Sharks had five just five players who had more than one goal. They had just five who had more than four points.
Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle were responsible for 21 of the 25 goals (84 percent) and 49 of the 71 points (69 percent) scored by the entire team.
It is no mistake they made up the first power-play unit. But their defensive contributions cannot be overlooked: Couture, Pavelski and Boyle were the top shot-blockers at their positions.
That does not mean that others were not contributing. Five skaters could not lead the Sharks to the best Stanley Cup playoff winning percentage in team history.
San Jose's role players contributed to a strong defense in front of Antti Niemi, allowing the Sharks to win despite scoring just 2.27 goals per game (including three overtimes). Their numbers may not be flashy, but these three players especially exemplify the unsung contributions of the role players.