Despite a fairly evenly-played first period, the San Jose Sharks were outplayed in the final 40 minutes and lost in a 3-0 shutout to the Colorado Avalanche.
Neither team scored or took a penalty in the first period. That fact didn’t last more than half a minute into the second period; Timo Meier was given a hooking penalty 23 seconds in. The Avalanche would change the score just over halfway through the game.
Nathan MacKinnon started and ended what became the scoring play. He passed the puck from the right corner up to the blueline, where Samuel Girard quickly swept the puck to Cale Makar on the left side of the ice. Makar put the puck on net, and MacKinnon was in a perfect place to pick off the bouncing rebound. He made all of five strides between getting rid of the puck and tapping it in.
The Sharks allowed only six shots on goal in the third period, according to nhl.com’s Gamecenter stats, but two of those found a home. With the Sharks not converting any of their nine shots—definitely not an ideal number for a team trying to tie the game—MacKinnon’s goal stood as the game-winner. Colin Wilson scored early in the third period, and Eric Johnson sealed it with an empty-net goal from 190 feet.
The Sharks had 12 penalty minutes during the game; they’re honestly lucky the Avs only converted once.
The series will return to San Jose as a best-of-three. Ideally, the Sharks win the next two games, but if needed they still have the potential to finish the series at home. It’s just going to take a few extra days, and thus a lot of extra shifts, bumps, and bruises for the players.
See you Saturday.
Hello friends and associates! We’re all hostages to the Bruins-Blue Jackets game because both games are supposed to be on the national broadcast. This is not increasing my anxiety at all!
13:48: Gustav Nyquist had a couple interesting ideas earlier, with a drop pass for Brent Burns in the high slot and then a soft touch in the left corner. Doesn’t look like his teammates were quite ready to take full advantage of his passes though.
9:50: The Sharks’ fourth line gets a couple good chances; on the very next shift the Avs’ top liners get a shot on Martin Jones that leaves a rebound. Luckily, Brent Burns was there to sweep it up.
END FIRST: Sharks 0, Avalanche 0
No goals or penalties that period. A lot of back and forth and not a lot of whistles. Nothing to get too excited or concerned about. I liked Nyquist, as well as Kevin Labanc and Lukas Radil.
19:37: Timo Meier takes a hooking penalty early in the period.
17:35: The Sharks kill the penalty, even with Evander Kane losing his stick at the end of it.
15:46: The Sharks trap the Avalanche in their zone, get a full line change, and then force an icing against Colorado.
15:33: Immediately after the faceoff, Nathan MacKinnon gets the puck and carries it into the Sharks’ zone for a chance with some fancy hockey stuff.
13:45: After San Jose spends most of the delayed penalty time in their defensive zone, the Avs finally touch the puck and give the Sharks a power play.
13:13: Matt Calvert trips Erik Karlsson but gets away with it, and moments later a Karlsson whiff gives the Avalanche a 2-on-2 down the ice. Kevin Labanc ends up with a penalty.
10:45: That looked very uncomfortable, but somehow Martin Jones keeps the puck out of the net after the Avs take hold of the puck in the neutral zone.
9:26: The Avs go from low to high and across the blueline. Cale Makar’s shot takes a funny bounce coming off Martin Jones and Nathan MacKinnon swats it down from knee-height into the net. In other words, Avalanche goal.
0:19.8: Gustav Nyquist gets a breakaway and Tyson Barrie holds Timo Meier to prevent a 2-on-0. Sharks power play.
END SECOND: Sharks 0, Avalanche 1
There were penalties and a goal in that period. Post observations.
The Avalanche did really, really well to use the whole ice leading to the MacKinnon goal. They had it down below the goal line and sent it all the way to the blue line, passed it laterally, and sent it back on goal.
The Sharks have most of a power play on the clean ice to start the final period. Their prime objective should be to tie the game as quickly as possible.
18:15: The Sharks didn’t really get anything set up. Waste of fresh ice.
17:28: Colorado power play.
16:49: Colorado goal. There was absolutely nobody on Colin Wilson.
14:31: Timo Meier and Gabriel Landeskog both go off for being angry at each other behind the play.
9:33: The Sharks have had some of their best pressure all game since that 4-on-4 spell. They’ve also changed the lines a bit, with Logan Couture skating alongside Gustav Nyquist and Joe Thornton. Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson went on the ice together for an offensive zone faceoff opportunity.
8:05: Now is not the ideal time for the Sharks to have to kill a penalty.
6:22: Sam Girard, who I have been informed is only 20 years old, forces Brent Burns to join Justin Braun in the penalty box.
2:45: Martin Jones starts his journey to the bench.
2:12: The Avalanche ice the puck. They could have scored: Kevin Labanc lost control of the puck with Gabriel Landeskog lurking nearby. The Sharks put just enough pressure on to force them to just clear it down rather than aiming for the net.
1:24: The Sharks take their timeout. Can we just note that NBCSN is talking about three Avalanche players being in the shooting lane? That should mean there’s only two players to cover the other five Sharks...why shoot?
1:09: Erik Johnson flings the puck from behind his own net...into the Sharks’ empty net. 3-0 Avalanche.
FINAL SCORE: Sharks 0, Avalanche 3
The San Jose Sharks are up 2-1 in their second round series against the Colorado Avalanche and a win tonight could put them in the best position they’ve been in this postseason: earning a 3-1 lead tonight would mean a chance to win the series in just five games, and on home ice, no less.
As the highest seed remaining in the West (and with the New York Islanders on the brink of elimination and the Boston Bruins fighting for their lives against Columbus, potentially the highest seed going to their Conference Final), the Sharks’ path to the Stanley Cup Final could be carved out for them. A major X-factor though, could be injuries, with captain Joe Pavelski remaining out of the line up, with no timetable to return. Wrapping up this series quickly will allow vital rest for a battered San Jose squad.
On the other end of the ice, Matt Calvert is making his own return to the Avalanche’s third line after being injured in Game 2. That third line has been sneaky in thwarting the Sharks while they’ve been keeping busy shutting down the one-two punch of Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen.
Expected scratches: Dylan Gambrell, Tim Heed, Radim Simek, Antti Suomela
Injured reserve: Joe Pavelski (undisclosed), Joonas Donskoi (undisclosed)
Avalanche (via NHL.com)
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 — Cale Makar
Nikita Zadorov — Tyson Barrie
Ian Cole — Erik Johnson
Expected scratches: Sven Andrighetto, Mark Barberio, Ryan Graves, Vladislav Kamenev, Patrik Nemeth
Where to watch
Puck drop is at 7 p.m. Pacific/10 p.m. Eastern at Pepsi Center and will be broadcast nationally NBC Sports in the U.S., CBC and SportsNet in Canada and en français on TVA Sports. The radio call will be on 98.5 KFOX in San Jose and through the Sharks app.