After a regular season in which his goal scoring was revived, San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski was looking for a similar rebirth in the postseason, and while he now has a 2019 NHL Stanley Cup playoff goal under his belt, it probably did not happen the way he expected.
Pavelski was standing alone atop the crease Wednesday when Brent Burns fired a shot from the point during the first period. The shot deflected off Pavelski’s face and past Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
Pavelski just scored a goal off his face ? pic.twitter.com/ipa37ZZWrQ
— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) April 11, 2019
While the goal gave the Sharks the all-important 1-0 lead, Pavelski left the game for a good amount of time after the puck appeared to hit him in the mouth. He returned less than two minutes into the second period with a swollen mouth and a shield to protect his lower face.
Pavelski back with a football helmet – guys a warrior. pic.twitter.com/gD6hTSAwmm
— David Amber (@DavidAmber) April 11, 2019
Pavelski now has 45 goals in 122 playoff games. He netted 38 goals and 26 assists in the 2018-19 regular season — his first 30-plus-goal season since he scored 38 in 2015-16.
Later in the second, the Sharks’ Timo Meier took a stick to the face from Jon Merrill and had to go the locker room for repairs; he returned, as well.