Dylan Gambrell's first NHL goal came at a big time.
The Sharks' rookie center cut the St. Louis Blues' lead in half during the second period of Game 6 of the Western Conference final on Tuesday. Gambrell hauled in a stretch pass from Joonas Donskoi seconds after San Jose goaltender Martin Jones denied St. Louis forward Patrick Maroon on an odd-man rush.
Tuesday night's contest at Enterprise Center marked Gambrell's 13th combined regular-season and playoff game in the NHL, and his first since he suited up in Game 1 of the Sharks' second-round series with the Colorado Avalanche. Gambrell drew into San Jose's lineup because captain Joe Pavelski -- a game-time decision -- could not suit up.
Gambrell had never scored in an NHL game, and had not scored an AHL goal since April 17. That was Game 1 of the San Jose Barracuda's Calder Cup playoff first-round series with the San Diego Gulls.
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Tuesday's stage was just a bit bigger, with the Sharks facing elimination in their best-of-seven series. Brayden Schenn doubled the Blues' lead once more with St. Louis' second power-play goal late in the second period.
If Gambrell's first goal is going to be a happy memory, the Sharks have their work cut out for them.