The way Game 2 began, you would’ve been pretty sure that the Sharks were well on their way to sweeping their second round home and home set against the Avalanche. San Jose was skating circles around their opponents, dominating possession and Evander Kane had made Colorado pay after being left open to corral a Brent Burns rebound and pop the puck past Philipp Grubauer, sending Team Teal to the locker room after the first period with a 1-0 lead.
But in the second period, Colorado’s big names proved that even the best teams can’t hold back the talent floodgates forever. Gabriel Landeskog tied the game by deflecting a Tyson Barrie shot over Martin Jones, and Barrie would grab the lead late in the second on a perfect shot that went off the crossbar and into the net.
The Sharks and Avs played firehouse hockey for most of the third period, until Marcus Sorensen made a costly turnover that wound up in the San Jose net courtesy of former Shark Matt Nieto. Brent Burns would pot two in the late stages of the game, including one with ten seconds remaining, but a Nathan MacKinnon empty netter had put the game out of reach just 35 seconds earlier.
The Avalanche’s mix of speed and offensive power from their top six did the Sharks in tonight, running San Jose up and down the ice until the weight of playing nine grueling playoff games took their toll in the later stages. And when the Sharks did have their chances, Philipp Grubauer was equal to the task, stopping 31 of 34 San Jose chances.
The Sharks will need to overcome their exhausting schedule while playing at the Pepsi Center in the high altitudes of Denver, with Game 3 set for Tuesday at 7 p.m. Pacific.
Good late afternoon/early evening everyone! I’m Lach in the Crease and I’ll be your guide on this wild ride through Game 2 of the Sharks and Avalanche! Be sure to refresh this page early and often throughout this game to get live reactions and updates! Let’s see if the Sharks can get Win #6!
One quick update to the Sharks lineup before we get started, thanks to our very own Sheng Peng:
Per DeBoer, Haley in, Gambrell out— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) April 28, 2019
Personally I think Gambrell would help the team a little more against a speedy team like the Avalanche, but we’ll see if Haley can make a key difference tonight.
20:00: Martin Jones to our broadcast left, Philipp Grubauer to our right. It’s Round 2, Game 2. Let’s go!!!
19:45: The Avs are starting things off with a defensive pairing of Sam Girard and Cale Makar. That’s a duo that could do a lot of damage if underestimated.
16:58: Some great pressure early on with the Sharks getting shots at the net and putting up screens in front of Grubauer. Somebody clearly read my pregame post!
14:32: Colorado’s greatest asset is their speed and knack for catching teams off guard during line changes. The Sharks strategy early on of keeping the shifts short will definitely limit those chances...if they’re being careful.
13:49: Not a lot of Grade-A scoring chances for either side early on, but limiting the Avs to just two shots so far is a great start for San Jose. Especially with all the rough starts they’ve had so far in this year’s postseason.
12:04: SHARKS SCORRRRRRRE!!! Some phenomenal cycle work by Lukas Radil and Tomas Hertl gets the puck to Brent Burns, who throws it on net and Evander Kane knocks home the rebound! 1-0 San Jose!!!
8:20: I think it’s safe to say that EK9 was due. Scoring depth wins championships, kids.
Evander Kane’s first goal since Game 1 against Vegas— Kevin Kurz (@KKurzNHL) April 28, 2019
7:15: Martin Jones passes his first big test on a J.T. Compher chance from the high slot. If Jones can find a way to cleanly swallow up those shots, his confidence will grow with it.
5:12: Joakim Ryan tries to catch Grubauer napping with a quick knucklepuck, but the Avs goalie flashes the leather. Pretty clear to me that the goalies are going to dictate this game, and maybe even this entire series.
4:55: Nikita Zadorov makes a really poor choice to crosscheck Timo Meier from behind into the boards, and the refs aren’t going to miss an obvious call like that. The Sharks are on the powwwwwwwer playyyyyy!!!
2:55: That was a...less than sparkling power play attempt. The Sharks might wanna get the clipboard out between periods and talk about that one.
1:24: Colorado’s defensive work struggled a bit early on, but they’ve started getting better at clogging up the middle of their zone as the period’s moved on. The Sharks will need to try forcing their way into the slot to get those prime scoring chances they want.
END FIRST: Sharks 1, Avalanche 0
The Sharks dominated early on and got a goal because of it. But the Avalanche began to come alive in the later stages of the first, and San Jose will have to be wary of that potential momentum shift in the second. Now, time to go freshen your drinks!
20:00: The middle frame awaits, let’s see which Sharks and Avs can come up big. Game on!
17:28: Knock on wood, but so far this looks like a different Avalanche team from the one that beat Calgary in Round 1. They look a little more timid and seem to be playing it safe with their scoring chances instead of taking risks. The Sharks are definitely doing their best to keep it that way.
16:15: Oh man. These Jumbo Joe age stats never cease to amaze me.
15:23: Carl Soderberg gets caught grabbing onto Evander Kane, and he’ll got to the box to feel shame. Power play chance #2 is on the way!
13:23: A much better try on the man advantage for the Sharks, but it still doesn’t convert on the scoreboard. Colorado kills it off.
11:39: Avalanche score. Colorado’s top line finally gets some sustained pressure and Tyson Barrie manages to throw a quick shot into the moving screen. Gabriel Landeskog tips the puck over Jones’ shoulder, and we’ve got a tie game.
10:00: Joakim Ryan tried a centering pass into the slot, but there was no one there. That’s gonna be a shot opportunity he’ll want back later.
7:45: I definitely tempted the fates earlier with my critique of the Avs’ play. Sorry everyone, I should know better by now.
4:01: The Sharks might be leading in shots during this period, but Colorado is doing a solid job of standing them up at the blue line right now. Pete DeBoer’s gonna need to find his team another way into the zone.
3:29: Colorado scores. The Sharks get caught not hustling for the icing, the Avs take advantage and get the puck to Tyson Barrie, who fires a laser beam of a shot past Jones’ blocker. Avalanche lead 2-1.
0:43: The tides are really swinging against the Sharks. Marc-Edouard Vlasic gets called for slashing with Colorado continuing to dominate possession. It’s Sharks’ penalty kill time.
END SECOND: Avalanche 2, Sharks 1
This wasn’t the period the Sharks needed at all. They got outworked, outchanced, and overall outplayed. Colorado’s playing like a desperate hockey team; now the Sharks will need to match that in the final frame. Hope you’ve DVR’d Game of Thrones by now, cause we’re not going anywhere for awhile.
20:00: Twenty minutes left to preserve a postseason winning streak. Away we go!
18:42: Avalanche can’t convert on the rollover power play, and the Sharks remain perfect on the penalty kill in this series. Can I interest anyone in a silver lining?
16:07: PDB appears to be shortening his bench for some goal support. Let’s see if it pays off.
Looks like Kane just took a spin in Haley's place on 4th line— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) April 29, 2019
10:30: Who doesn’t love a little bit of back-and-forth hockey? Logan Couture rings a great chance but can’t beat Grubauer, Jones makes a great stop beforehand; you can’t help but get excited...or anxious.
9:50: Avs goal. Marcus Sorensen gifts a turnover in his own zone, and Matt “Long Beach native” Nieto is left alone to jam the eventual shot in past Jones. 3-1 Colorado.
7:55: You can’t help but tip your cap to Philipp Grubauer. The Sharks have had a lot of great chances tonight, but the Avalanche goalie has stonewalled them at nearly every turn.
5:00: Five minute warning. It’s now or never.
4:34: SHARKS SCORE! WE’RE NOT DONE YET! Brent Burns is left wide open and he makes no mistake, ripping a shot past Grubauer and we’ve got a one goal game! 3-2 Avalanche.
3:45: Oof. Timo Meier gets his stick caught on Nathan MacKinnon’s leg, and takes a costly late tripping penalty. A crucial penalty kill for San Jose on the way.
1:30: Meier’s out! Jones heads to the bench! Go go go!
1:02: Empty net goal for MacKinnon. Matt Calvert took a massive hit from Burns to make that pass, and it’s 4-2 Avalanche.
0:17.2: Ian Cole gets whistled for a late holding call, the Sharks need two quick ones. They got another magic power play in them?
0:10.0: SHARKS GOAL! It only took seven seconds for Brent Burns to get the puck and tee another one up past Grubauer! There’s time to tie this up!
FINAL SCORE: Avalanche 4, Sharks 3
The Sharks nearly pulled off some more late game playoff heroics, but they come up juuuust short. The Avalanche tie the series at one apiece, with Games 3 and 4 in Denver on the way.
Reporting live from in front of my television, I’ve been Lach in the Crease. Thanks for joining us tonight and we’ll see you again on Tuesday!
Pete DeBoer’s third line of Joe Thornton, Marcus Sorensen and Kevin Labanc combined for a five-point night, drawing the first blood in their semifinal series with the Avalanche. But while the Sharks’ depth was on full display in Game 1, they’ll need a similar result tonight if they want to subdue a Colorado team that has no issue with starting a series from behind.
From an Avalanche standpoint, the results of Friday’s game bear a striking resemblance to the way their first round matchup against Calgary began. After a 4-0 shutout convinced everyone the series was going to be an easy out for the Flames, the Avalanche responded with four straight victories, outplaying a juggernaut Calgary team at every turn.
If the Sharks want to avoid a similar fate as their Pacific counterparts, they need to play with the same urgency that won the day against the Golden Knights in Games 5 through 7. Colorado might not look like the strongest team on paper, but if San Jose lets their foot off the pedal even for a second, the elite talents of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog will find a way to take advantage of any lapse.
Martin Jones won the goaltending battle against Philipp Grubauer on Friday, and the Sharks will need that trend to continue tonight. With Grubauer establishing himself as a bonafide NHL starter down the stretch and into the postseason, he represents the Avalanche's best secret weapon towards an upset. The Sharks will want to make his life uncomfortable early on in this game by getting traffic to the net, working the puck around the slot and forcing the netminder to make tough saves early on.
Expected scratches: Micheal Haley, Radim Simek, Jacob Middleton
Avalanche (via Mile High Hockey)
Gabriel Landeskog — Nathan MacKinnon — Alexander Kerfoot
Colin Wilson — Carl Soderberg — Mikko Rantanen
Matt Calvert — J.T. Compher — Matt Nieto
Gabriel Bourque — Tyson Jost — Derick Brassard
Samuel Girard — Erik Johnson
Nikita Zadorov — Tyson Barrie
Ian Cole — Cale Makar
Expected scratches: Sven Andrighetto, Patrik Nemeth, Mark Barbario
Where to Watch
Puck drop for Game 2 will have an early start time from SAP Center at 4:30 p.m. Pacific/7:30 p.m. Eastern. You can catch the game on NBCSN in the US and on CBC/Sportsnet in Canada. As always, 98.5 KFOX will carry the radio broadcast live from the Shark Tank.