After 16 years, the National Hockey League returned to the Bay Area, renewing Northern California’s love affair with hockey.
The Sharks have been a huge success in San Jose, and the level of support they have enjoyed is unparalleled, a true testament to the region and its fans.
Moving from the Cow Palace to the Shark Tank in San Jose, hockey fans flocked to the team, developing a strong and faithful following from the Bay Area.
The Gund Family and the San Jose Sharks revitalized a region, rebuilt a city and brought a sense of hope and pride to the South Bay.
In the organization's 20th calendar year, the Sharks are riding a wave of momentum that has the fanbase and city abuzz with excitement.
It’s been an interesting season for Sharks fans, and last year’s success in the playoffs, coupled with the team’s play in the new year, has people thinking it just may be the Sharks' year.
With the regular season winding down, we take a look back at this special season’s top 10 magical goals.
We kick off our best-of goals in the 2010-2011 season with this clutch Clowe overtime winner against the Blackhawks.
The Sharks have taken on and beaten some of the NHL's hottest teams since January, and Chicago was no different.
Coming into the game, the Blackhawks were on a roll and looking for their third win in a row, and sixth win in their last eight games.
Meanwhile, the Sharks were coming off of a five-game road trip with a 3-2-0 record. The Sharks lost the final test on the swing, dropping a horrible 6-3 decision in Buffalo on Thursday.
The Buffalo loss had the coaching staff upset with the team's consistency and effort, and as he's done all season, Ryane Clowe responded for the Sharks.
Clowe scored in regulation, and tallied another with just 1:08 left in overtime to lift the Sharks to a 2-1 victory over the Blackhawks.
He also got the Sharks on the board with 10 minutes left in the first period, as he deflected a Jason Demers centering pass into the net for the early lead.
The Sharks were in the midst of their charge up the Western Conference standings, recording wins in their last eight games and last seven at home.
In the middle of their homestand, the Sharks welcomed the rival Red Wings, a team that sported a 22-8-3 record.
The Sharks were facing a huge test as they sat within striking distance of the Red Wings at the No. 2 seed.
Looking to avenge the Nov 30th loss at the hands of the Red Wings, the Sharks put forth an excellent effort for the 3-1 victory.
Dany Heatley exploded for two scores, and Patrick Marleau extended the lead to keep San Jose on its winning ways.
Antti Niemi surrendered the lone goal on 27 shots. Without the efforts of Joey MacDonald, the Sharks could have easily blown out the visitors.
With the score tied, Joe Pavelski sent the puck toward MacDonald and Heatley smartly deflected the puck past him for the lead.
Great hustle, great vision and great hands against a top-tier team in the West with an excellent road record.
Read the game recap here : Sharks Turn Up Heat vs Red Wings
It was mid-February and the Sharks were rolling along on their epic surge in the Western Conference. Patrick Marleau's game winner is just one of the many clutch situations for him this year.
Just one point separated the San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators in the Western Conference standings on the 15th.
February was a tough month and the Sharks went to Nashville to cap off their tremendous seven-game road trip.
Nashville had picked up a victory in three of its last four games, and the Sharks were 4-2 on a seven-game road trip.
The Sharks needed this win to rebound from two-straight tough losses, coupled with the fact that the Predators had won the previous two meetings between the clubs.
Devin Setoguchi was one of the hottest Sharks in February, and his goal to tie things up with 10 minutes left in the second was huge.
Streaking down the right side of the ice, Setoguchi unleashed a wicked bad-angle wrister that found the top right corner against Rinne.
In overtime, Marleau took the neutral zone turnover on a breakaway against Pekka Rinne and buried it for the game winner.
The San Jose Sharks, coming off a roller-coaster win against the Detroit Red Wings, traveled to the City of Brotherly Love looking to win two in a row.
In the middle of a five-game road trip, the Sharks improved to 2-1-0 coming into the matchup at Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers had won two in a row, rebounding from a three-game slide and needing a victory to pad their lead in the East.
In a wild game that the Sharks really had no business winning, Logan Couture would score in the shootout to steal the victory on the road.
Coming back from a three-goal deficit, the Sharks came up with a huge victory against one of the best defensive corps in the NHL.
Ryane Clowe and Jason Demers would each notch a goal and an assist, while Joe Pavelski and Couture also scored in the comeback win.
With the Flyers holding on to the 4-3 lead, a face off in the offensive zone would trickle straight to Little Joe, who slammed it home with authority, tying the game.
With the game on the line, Pavelski again showed how clutch of a performer he is when the stakes are raised.
Some guy named Antero Niittymaki made 31 saves for the win against his former team, and the Sharks notched their third win in the last four.
Pavelski has been a huge part of the Sharks success, and he is on fire of late, collecting a dizzying 17 points in his past six games. Wow.
Just two days removed from a blockbuster trade, the Avalanche came to HP looking for a reversal of fortunes.
Unfortunately for them, they had to face one of the hottest teams in the San Jose Sharks, with a 11-2-1 record in their last 14 games.
The Sharks completely dismantled this team in the first period and they really could have ended the game right then.
Setting a franchise first with Devin Setoguchi recording the hat trick and Antti Niemi recording the shutout, the Sharks had the Tank rocking.
Devin Setoguchi had two goals in the first alone, and this game was his coming-out party after his torrid month of February.
The goal in question came just six minutes into the first when Setoguchi split two defenders and backhanded the winner past Peter Budaj.
It was a great outlet pass by Jason Demers and a great goal by Devin Setoguchi, who cleanly skated through two guys and put the goal home.
This game was the payoff for young Setoguchi, who had hustled all season but not reaped the rewards. He also scored with just five minutes left in the first, cleaning up a rebound off the backboards.
Read the game recap here : San Jose Sharks Set Franchise Mark
The Sharks came to the Consol Center to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins and their newly-acquired players, after they shipped Alex Goligoski to Dallas.
San Jose was coming off its fourth-straight win Tuesday night in Detroit, and also improved to 13-2-1 in its last 16 games.
Patrick Marleau looked like the clear cut hero when he gave San Jose the lead just five minutes into the third frame. The terrific hustling wraparound had the Sharks up 2-1 and looking to clamp down for their fifth straight win.
The Penguins had other ideas, pulling their goaltender and capitalizing on a Tyler Kennedy goal with just 50 seconds remaining.
Logan Couture just barely missed an empty net just seconds before the tying goal, which could have ended things right then and there.
After being denied on a breakaway in the overtime session, Marleau would not be denied just minutes later, knocking home the rebound with just four seconds left.
Captain Clutch indeed.
In another heated Pacific Division showdown against the then-leading Dallas Stars, the Sharks came into the contest having dropped a 3-2 shootout the last time these two teams tangled.
San Jose had its work cut out as the Stars were red hot, looking for their fifth-straight home victory and sporting a 9-0-1 record in their last 10 home games.
Devin Setoguchi scored twice and Torrey Mitchell also scored for the Sharks, which had lost two in a row coming in.
Following a dubious score by Tom Wandell at the 7:56 mark of the third period, the game headed to overtime. Steve Ott basically ran over Niittymaki on the goal, and he was not penalized for the goalie interference.
With Stars forward Mike Ribeiro off for a high-sticking double minor, Dan Boyle dished the puck to Couture on the left side of the ice.
Couture would rip home the game winner at 1:20 of the overtime frame—what a terrific goal by the Sharks rookie.
It was deja vu for Pekka Rinne and the Nashville Predators in this key matchup at HP Pavilion, as Marleau again got the best of them.
The Sharks were coming off their first loss since Feb 13, dropping a 3-2 loss to the Stars.
The Sharks hadn't lost two in a row since February 13th, and enjoyed a four-point cushion over the Phoenix Coyotes in the Pacific.
Marleau scored the overtime winner when the Sharks visited the Predators on Feb. 15 and he rose up to the occasion once more.
Ryane Clowe had a goal and an assist and rookie Justin Braun also scored for the Sharks, but they needed the extra frame to put down the Nashville Predators.
Shea Weber provided the dramatic game-tying goal on a nifty feed from David Legwand late in the second frame.
In overtime, the teams exchanged chances until Patrick Marleau made the Predators his prey once more.
With just a minute-and-a-half left in overtime, Marleau collected the puck in his own zone, streaked down the right side of the ice and snapped home the winner past Rinne.
Patrick Marleau is a man on a mission this year, and his clutch play is carrying the Sharks through some tough games.
Read the game recap here : Predators vs. Sharks: Marleau Strikes Again
For a funny side to the analysis behind Patrick Marleau's penchant for game winners, check out :
This loss was a bitter pill to swallow for some Sharks fans, but I see nothing but silver lining in this loss, which typified the very resolve of a champion.
With just 11 seconds left in the third period, Patrick Marleau knocked home the game-tying goal to force overtime.
He also set up the game's first goal on a beautiful tip-home play to Pavelski, as pretty a play as you will ever see in the NHL.
The goal of the game is Marleau's first one, which came with 3:32 left in regulation, as he skated down the left side and let loose a rocket past Quick.
Terrific shot, clutch goal and another classic Marleau goal against a very good Kings team.
Sadly, Patrick Marleau's effort did not result in the win, but he salvaged the point against a very stout defensive team in the Kings.
It's hard to try and figure out who is the hottest Sharks skater right now, with Marleau, Couture and Pavelski leading the team towards the playoffs.
Read the game recap here : Kings Survive Shark Attack
It's a tough call, but this goal caps my list of top goals this season, given the circumstances involved.
San Jose welcomed the NHL-leading Canucks with 96 points into the Shark Tank, and their 20-9-4 record as the visitor.
The Sharks were coming off a 3-2 OT in over Nashville, rebounding from a loss to Dallas, and were 9-1 in their last 10 games.
With two of the top teams in the West facing off for the final time this season, Torrey Mitchell skated through the entire Canuck defense before scoring.
Down 3-2, things looked bleak for San Jose until Mitchell dangled and dipsied his way before tying the game at the 17:40 mark.
A truly heroic effort by a guy who has had a tough time coming back from a broken leg injury, and quieted his skeptics for the time being.
This goal was just sweet, and couldn't have happened to a better guy than Torrey Mitchell, who just may have a word or two to say in the playoffs for the Sharks.
What do you think? What goal do you think is the best goal in the 2010-11 season?