Imagine his surprise when Ottawa Senators defenseman Wade Redden found himself alone in the slot against the San Jose Sharks.
Imagine the Sharks' surprise when Redden scored in the final minute to give Ottawa a 1-1 tie on Friday night.
"The Red Sea opened up and I found myself all alone," said Redden, who took a pass from Alexei Yashin and fired a quick shot under the right arm of Sharks goaltender Mike Vernon with 46 seconds left.
"I knew there wasn't much time," said Redden of his eighth goal of the season. "I've never been alone like that in my career."
Yashin, tied for third in NHL goal scoring entering the game, earned his first point in four games with an assist on the play.
The Sharks had taken a 1-0 lead at 9:21 of the third period on a short-handed goal by Murray Craven.
"It's disappointing for us to have a bit of a breakdown at the end but it's better to have it now than three weeks from now," said Vernon, whose team is in seventh place in the Western Conference and fighting for a playoff spot. "I knew (Redden) was there. I was a little surprised he was there all by himself."
With the tie, the Sharks improved their unbeaten streak to eight (6-0-2).
San Jose's Marco Sturm set up Craven's goal on a 2-on-1, passing to his teammate at the bottom of the slot. Craven beat Damian Rhodes with a high shot.
"(Sturm) showed great patience," Rhodes said. "(Craven) went up top where I couldn't get it."
San Jose is the hottest team in the NHL, with only one loss in its last 11 games.
The Sharks are unbeaten in six games on the road (4-0-2) and were coming off an 8-5 win in Toronto on Wednesday. They are 2-0-2 in their current five-game road swing and had won six of seven games prior to the trip.
"Every point is a little blessing," said San Jose coach Darryl Sutter. "To make the playoffs, you neeat least a point every night. The last time we played them, we had the great start."
In the previous meeting between the teams in San Jose on March 13, the Sharks jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first seven minutes and hung on for a 3-2 win.
The Senators gained a three-point lead on New Jersey on top of the Eastern Conference standings with the tie.
"We had several good chances tonight but we hit a hot goaltender," said Ottawa coach Jacques Martin, whose club outshot San Jose 41-26.
Ottawa has scored only 13 goals in eight games but has lost only eight of its last 40 games (25-8-7).
It was Ottawa's final game against Western Conference opponents and left the teams' all-time record against each other at 4-4-4.
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