It was at the heart of what will go down as one of the great games in the NHL story.
When San Jose Sharks defeated Vegas Golden Knights 5-4 in overtime in Games 7 in the Western Conference First Round at SAP Center on Tuesday, they did more than argue back after pulling 3-0 in the third period, more than recovering from a late goal.
They did more than win a best of the 7 series after trampling 3-1 for the first time in their history, more than advances to playing Colorado avalanche in the second round from Friday.
They rallied for their injured captain, Joe Pavelski.
"The boys, they came together and they said," This is for Pav "center Joe Thornton said. "So we love him. It was just a matter of will, and we wanted it for him."
[RELATED:[RELATED:[RELATERAD:[RELATED:Complete Sharks vs Golden Knights coverage | Vegas is stunned after OT loss]
The game turned to a face-off in the Vegas Zone 9:06 in the third period.
Pavelski won the root, and was then crossed by Golden Knights center Cody Eakin, knocking him off balance. In the next split second, Golden Knights center Paul Stastny ran into Pavelski, who fell hard, hit his head on the ice and lay relentlessly.
In Game 1, Pavelski made a goal when a shot was declined in his face. He lost three teeth, had another cut and had two more cracked, and he had to put on a jaw guard to protect the tooth work. Now he bleed again.
"He's the heart of this team and to see him go down so and suffer so, it was the heart of us," Thornton said.
Thornton and beyond Evander Kane helped Pavelski off the ice with a coach, with defenders Burned Burns just behind. The whole way, Thornton cradled Pavelski's head, holds a towel for his wounds.
"It almost made you cry, because we love him so much," Thornton said. "You never want to see a teammate get hurt, it was a tough break for him. It was just to keep him as hard as possible, get him off the ice and get him better."
Video: VGK @ SJS, Gm7: Sharks rally with four goals, win in OT
Eakin got a five minute head for cross control and a failed game at 9:13. The Golden Knights were upset about the conversation. But whatever you think of the event, no matter what you think of the conversation, you must respect how the Sharks responded.
At that moment there is no cold analysis. There are only hot emotions.
"Hard to see, man," forward Logan Couture said. "Really tough to see. But you have to give credit to [Thornton]. As soon as we got to that bench he said, "You go out and you get … three goals right now." And I mean, when a guy who has been playing 20 years ordering you like this, managers around you, you have to do it, so we did it. We have four. "
Couture did at 9:20. Forward Tomas Hertl did at 10:09. Couture did again at 12:53. Then forward Kevin Labanc did at 13:21.
Sharks had scored four power-play goals in the first six games, and now they had made four power-play goals in a span of 4: 1 during a big penalty to take a 4-3 lead. They were the eighth fastest four goals of a team in a Stanley Cup Playoff game.
But it wasn't over yet. Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault bound game 4-4 with 47 seconds left. The law went to overtime after having double OT in Games 6 on Sunday.
"Yes, I mean, it was tough," Couture said. "There is no lie, it was hard to take. We did a little bit on the bench. It was natural. But it was good we had overtime faster and just enjoy it. I mean first Game 7 overtime I have ever recorded "This place was completely buzzing. The fans gave us extra energy."
Video: Sharks send Vegas in epic seven games to advance
Back and forth the action went on until Sharks center Barclay Goodrow took a pass from the defenseman Erik Karlsson in the Vegas zone.
Goodrow, who played 7:26, the second lowest ice age among Shark's skaters, had nice legs. He curled around the Golden Knights defense man Brayden McNabb, cut the low slit and slide the puck past the right edge of the goalkeeper Marc-Andre Fleury at 18:19.
"I just got on the ice, so I saw [defenseman] was a little flat, "Goodrow said." Maybe I thought if I could skate, maybe I could get behind him. Of course Erik is a world-class player. He can do it. I thought if I could get to the other side of Fleury I could have a chance. "
Sharks became second team in the NHL story to rally from three goals during the third period and win a game 7, after the Boston Bruins, who defeated Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 in the first round in 2013.
"It's a once in a lifetime game, I think," Couture said. "Knock on wood. I don't think my heart can take another one. It was up and down and with 10-minute overtime there was just nothing left, I think for many of us for a double-overtime game. About 10 seconds in every shift you run on smoke, so [heck] of a play off [Goodrow] to win it. Holy [cow]. What game."
Thornton, a veteran with 1,566 regular season and 166 playoff games, said, "It was the best game I've ever been in. Period."
Sharks coach Peter DeBoer had no update on Pavelski's condition after the match. But after the victory, his teammates shared a moment with him, a moment they will never forget.
"He looks good," Thornton said with a smile. "So I'm happy."