Never throw an octopus into a shark tank. That was the lesson learned by one Detroit fan Tuesday night in San Jose.
Early in overtime in a game between the Red Wings and host Sharks, a toy octopus was thrown onto the ice at SAP Center — nicknamed the Shark Tank — landing on the red line at center ice.
With the Sharks in possession of the puck during the three-on-three overtime, captain Logan Couture waved to one of the linesmen to get the toy off the ice. The linesman pushed the octopus to the side boards and seconds later Couture knocked a loose puck into the net for the winner in a 3-2 game.
The Sharks will look for a more conventional victory when they host the New York Rangers on Thursday night.
Red Wings fans have a long history of throwing an octopus onto the ice, but generally only during home playoff games.
“It was weird because the crowd was screaming and yelling and I didn’t know what was going on,” said Couture, who returned after spending five days in COVID-19 protocol. “I looked up. I thought there was a jersey on the ice. I got closer and saw it was an octopus. I kind of skated around it.”
Brent Burns carried the puck down the left wing and attempted a centering pass for Couture, who had driven toward the far post. The puck deflected off the back of the skate of Detroit goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic, who had gotten spun around, and slowly started sliding toward the goal line. Nedeljkovic tried to fall on the puck but Couture, who had been knocked to the seat of his pants by a defenseman, was able to slide his stick under the goalie and knock the puck into the net.
“It’s definitely not something you see every day,” Sharks forward Timo Meier said of the octopus. “It’s their tradition, but I guess it brought us luck.”
Burns assisted on all three goals as the Sharks improved to 6-0 in overtime this season.
“Those are huge because those are the points you’re looking at — at the end of the season,” said Sharks coach Bob Boughner, whose team has won three games in a row. “It’s nice to see us in these close games, comfortable in these close games and finding ways to win.”
The Rangers are coming off a 3-1 loss Monday at Los Angeles, their second in three games during a five-game road swing.
Kris Knoblauch served as the interim coach for New York after Gerard Gallant tested positive for COVID-19. Knoblauch, who coaches the Rangers’ American Hockey League team, took a red-eye flight from Hartford, Conn., and arrived in Los Angeles at 2:30 a.m. Monday.
“He’s asking us to play the exact same way and it’s on us as a group to do those things,” Rangers forward Chris Kreider said. “I think that a very recurring theme when things go sideways for us is we’re really hurting ourselves, and we did that a lot (Monday) I think.”
The Rangers got Artemi Panarin back from the COVID list but fellow forward Barclay Goodrow joined teammates Igor Shesterkin, Ryan Reaves and Julien Gauthier in the health and safety protocol.
Goaltender Shesterkin could return Thursday.
–Field Level Media