SAN JOSE, CALIF. – Joe Pavelski still leads all playoff scorers with 13 goals, but one of the front-runners to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the postseason's most valuable player has been gobbled up in this series.
Every time the San Jose Sharks captain gets the puck, the Pittsburgh Penguins have limited his time and space. That's why he has no goals and four shots as the Sharks trail the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final 2-1.
"Those guys get a lot of attention," Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said. "You can ask the same thing about [Evgeni] Malkin and some of the guys on their end. It's tough this time of year. Every round, he's getting a lot of attention, just like Brent Burns is getting a lot of attention, just like Jumbo [Joe Thornton] is getting a lot of attention.
"… I have no doubt he's going to break through here. He has all year for us. It's just a matter of time."
Pittsburgh's Malkin, the 2009 Conn Smythe winner, has no points in the series and one goal in the past 15 games.
Sidney Crosby says not to worry about Malkin. "It just takes a bounce or a goal or some sort of momentum to kind of get that confidence going," he said.
With the Sharks down a goal and seconds from wasting a four-minute power play Saturday, Joel Ward came through with the tying goal. It continued Ward's career trend of scoring clutch playoff goals.
"I just visualize," he said. "I've watched other guys and always tried to emulate, listen to their quotes. I got one from [NBAer] Paul Pierce. … In the playoffs he always stepped up."