2010 NHL Playoffs: San Jose Sharks Advance To Conference Finals

Eric WarrenCorrespondent IIMay 9, 2010

SAN JOSE, CA - MAY 08:  Devin Setoguchi #16, Ryan Clowe #29 and Manny Malhotra #27 of the San Jose Sharks celebrate after defeating the Detroit Red Wings in Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at HP Pavilion on May 8, 2010 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

"Tickets For Round Three Go On Sale Tuesday At Ten AM"

That is the greeting you'll get if you jump over to the San Jose Sharks official NHL Web site.

“This is a very big win for our organization for a lot of different reasons,” head coach Todd McLellan said. “One, the opportunity to continue playing. Two, to shed some of the reputation that we have supposedly earned from the past.”

San Jose will play in the Western Conference Championship Series for the second time in their club history after defeating the Red Wings in a playoff series for the first time since 1994; a team that has dominated the Sharks (19-44-4-4) since San Jose entered the National Hockey League in 1991.

“We knew these guys were going to be tough,” said Scot Nichol “They’ve been such a great franchise, forever it seems. We knew it was going to be hard. Every shift, every faceoff was going to be like your last. It was mentally draining. It was nice to finish them off tonight. We didn’t want to give them any kind of momentum or any kind of hope. We just played hard tonight.”

Ever since San Jose’s elimination by Anaheim in last year’s Western Conference quarterfinals, questions were raised about the play of certain individuals. Thornton and Marleau were often the target of media and fans alike in their quest to explain away the Sharks in ability to advance deep in into the playoffs.

How ironic that in these 2010 NHL playoffs it was those two scored San Jose’s goals on Saturday night and carried much of the load for the team in this series.

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“The fact that it was a team that had been to the Stanley Cup Finals the last couple of years and a team that, quite frankly, has had our number over the last little bit”

It was former Captain Patrick Marleau who scored the eventual series winner at 6:59 of the third period after some great work from Heatley and Thornton behind the Detroit net.

"I kind of caught him out of the corner of my eye getting the puck, and I was able to stop and find a spot," said Marleau, who scored 44 goals during the regular season and now has seven points in these play offs. "He's going to make those passes all night, and it's up to me to get the shots off and find the back of the net."

It's San Jose's second trip to the NHL's final four and first since 2004, when the Sharks lost to Calgary.

Evgeni Nabokov, who was the second star of the game, bounced back in a big way after allowing five goals on just nine shots in the previous game to make 33 saves in the fifth and final game.

San Jose will play the winner of the Vancouver-Chicago series, which is yet to be determined. The Blackhawks, the No. 2 seed in the conference, hold a 3-1 series lead and can advance with a win at home on tonight.