With less than a week to go until Thanksgiving, the Sharks found themselves on the second night of a back to back in an unfamiliar time zone. After a demonstrative win against the rival Stars, it would have been understandable if the Sharks didn't come out guns-a-blazin' against the Avalanche.
They didn't, but as has been the case in recent games, it didn't matter much.
With Thomas Greiss in net, San Jose started in sluggish fashion. As a result, they spotted Colorado a quick opening lead, as some crisp passing gave Matt Duchene an unmolested chance with a practically open net. Greiss did his best to slide over and front the shooter, but Duchene capitalized for his ninth goal of the year.
The Sharks luckily got their act together quickly, and Patrick Marleau got his first goal in three games by scoring an uncharacteristic goal for the swift winger. Driving to the front of the net, Marleau won a battle in tight and smacked one past Jean-Sebastien Giguere. It was an even strength tally, but it came just one second after the Sharks' first power play of the game had expired. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who has been a scoring dynamo as of late, picked up an assist on the play.
San Jose would get two additional power plays shortly after (the first of which carried over from the first to the second), but couldn't capitalize on either. However, Patrick Marleau would pick up his second of the game, his eighth of the year, on another feed from Vlasic. This goal was more Marleau's style, as his deft hands picked up a Vlasic shot and ramped it past Giguere.
Joe Pavelski would add his eleventh goal of the season later in the second, although the Sharks wouldn't need it in the end, after a nice around the net play from line mates Joe Thornton and Logan Couture. Pavelski has become the Sharks' most dangerous goal scorer this season, a necessity for team who lost snipers Devin Setoguchi and Dany Heatley in the offseason.
The third saw a heavy dose of Colorado pressure; San Jose had just two shots on net against the home team's 17. Still, the only tally in the period came for Marleau, who secured his first hat-trick of the season, an empty netter on the power play which got him his ninth goal of the year.
It was the sole power play goal of the night for the Sharks, who despite the win, had some real issues tonight. The power play didn't look great, and the team really struggled to generate any pressure in the third period. Without Jamie McGinn, who drew two huge penalties with his feisty, aggressive play in the waining minutes of the third, the Avalanche could have had some real opportunities to get back in the game.
Credit, also, goes to Thomas Greiss, who saved 36 of 37 shots for the win. The Sharks have been blessed with some great goaltending, especially since Antti Niemi was pulled against the Penguins earlier in the month. It's a real asset for coach Todd McLellan, who can start either goaltender with confidence.
On the heels of both 4-1 wins, the Sharks will head back home for a real test. The Stars and the Avalanche are capable opponents, but the Blackhawks (Tuesday) and the Canucks (Saturday) are in a whole different animal. Hopefully the Sharks won't end up the ones who look like turkeys.
Gobble gobble. (And if you're wondering why the recap was done so quickly, The Walking Dead is on soon.)