First, let's take a look at the fight and set the scene. The Sharks were clearly a bit frustrated, and Bieksa was pushing Marleau around along the boards a bit. Marleau stepped up, and as you can hear in the video, the San Jose bench definitely got a bit of extra energy when the realized it was Marleau throwing his fists.
Now, to that reaction. SB Nation's Sharks blog, Fear The Fin, loved what Marleau showed in stepping up and fighting Bieksa.
Patrick Marleau's fight with Kevin Bieksa was excellent to see. Although Bieksa won the fight handily (and displayed an anger face that Cal Lightman would have a field day with), that's a good bout for a variety of reasons. For starters, Marleau drops the gloves first against a bigger opponent who he has to figure is going to give him some good shots-- that's leadership. Secondly, although Marleau is clearly an important player for San Jose, I think I take the trade off of top pairing defenseman for top line forward. Bieksa was a man possessed tonight and getting him off the ice for five is a net gain for San Jose.
Meanwhile, via the Vancouver Province:
The tactic backfired in just about every way possible -as Bieksa, an accomplished scrapper, pummelled Marleau thoroughly in the bout and the incident resulted in a chain reaction of attempted retribution that contributed to the lopsided 7-3 Vancouver victory and distracted the Sharks from any possibility of a comeback in the game.
Ah, local perspectives. For what it's worth from my I-don't-care-who-wins-this-series view, I tend to agree with the San Jose take here. Bieksa was an animal in Game 2, and his goal was the one that had made the score 3-2. By getting him off the ice for five minutes, they win the trade off and the Sharks even got a boost of energy.
Unfortunately for them, Ben Eager quickly stole that energy and tossed it in a dumpster out back. He was clearly livid after the fight between Bieksa and Marleau -- after the game, he called Bieksa a "coward" and "phony" for dropping the gloves with Marleau instead of him -- and he let that anger get the best of him just a minute and a half later.
The Province in Vancouver looked at the fight as a turning point that severely backfired. I'd say that Eager's hit, a dirty one on one of the Canucks' star players, backfired on San Jose more than anything else did. Vancouver scored four goals in the third period and rolled to a huge victory.
For more on the NHL's Western Conference Final, check in with our Sharks vs. Canucks series hub, as well as our blogs: Fear The Fin covering the Sharks and Nucks Misconduct covering the Canucks. You can find more local coverage at SB Nation Bay Area and Battle of California.