Nothing comes easy in the playoffs, especially in a Game 6 with a chance to move on away from home. If this gives you 2016 Viktor Arvidsson vibes, it should.
When the San Jose Sharks started Game 6 on a rather flat note, the Colorado Avalanche were sure to capitalize on it. It felt as if the Avalanche were doing everything right and the Sharks were doing everything wrong. Fortunately for the Sharks, Martin Jones was there to bail them out for all of the first period.
In the second period, however, they were not so lucky. The Avalanche caught the Sharks napping and a two-on-one opportunity was created by J.T. Compher and Tyson Jost. Just like in Game 5, Jost opened scoring for the Avalanche. The two teams traded chances in the later part of the period, as Marc-Edouard Vlasic, J.T. Compher and Brent Burns all scored in the span of the final five minutes to tie the game heading into the final frame.
In the third, J.T. Compher once again scored to give the Avalanche the lead, but with just two minutes to go in regulation, Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored his second of the game to send Game 6 to overtime. The Sharks nearly put the game (and series) on ice in overtime when Marcus Sorensen missed a sure goal, but then Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog sent the series back to San Jose, scoring just three minutes into overtime.
Hello Sharks fans near and far! My name is Bryan Del Fava coming to you live from the confines of my room in South San Jose, and my superstitions are in full swing. It’s gonna be a fun night, let’s do this thing!
20:00: The puck has dropped and away we go here from the Pepsi Center!
19:01: Avalanche pressuring early, but nothing high-danger here.
17:35: I know it happened a minute ago, but J.T. Compher absolutely leveled Erik Karlsson, who seemed to be limping off the ice. We’ll see if it’s anything serious.
16:55: I guess not. Karlsson’s already back out there.
15:44: There’s Nathan Mackinnon with a good chance, but Martin Jones denies him.
14:37: There’s Erik Karlsson with the Sharks’ first shot of the game, a deflection into the glove of Philipp Grubauer.
12:54: Gus Nyquist was on the receiving end of a hit from Nikita Zadorov, but recovered from it well, in fact, well enough to get a good scoring chance on Grubauer.
11:15: Joe Thornton misses the net.
11:05: The Avs’ first line gets a dangerous chance, but Jones is there to deny Landeskog.
9:59: Erik Karlsson weaves through the Avalanche defense, but misses the net.
8:13: Kevin Labanc gets a nice opportunity, but Grubauer says no.
7:54: Labanc is set off for holding on what at first looked like a routine check to me, but video replay showed he reached around Soderberg. Easy call.
6:15: The Sharks’ penalty kill has got Mackinnon a bit worked up, upset that he wasn’t getting many touches. Keep it up, I say.
5:00: Joe Thornton is sent off for a soft tripping call.
4:26: So much for that Avalanche power play, Mikko Rantanen is sent to the box for a tripping call of his own.
3:57: Zadorov rings the post.
3:35: That’s a great interception from Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
2:26: Both teams at even strength.
0:17: Great backchecking effort from Logan Couture.
END FIRST: Sharks 0, Avalanche 0
19:44: Gus Nyquist gets a shot off with Couture on the doorstep, and it’s safe to say a good chance like that is what the Sharks needed to get going this period.
17:33: Thornton with a bold chance from beyond the hashmarks, but it deflects off Barrie and goes out of play.
16:11: Brent Burns makes a great lead pass to Melker Karlsson that starts a good scoring chance.
15:55: You had to think that was coming. Tyson Jost gets scoring going for the Avalanche after a two-on-one. The Sharks seriously need to wake up.
14:30: Brent Burns lays a hit on Mikko Rantanen that sends him straight to the locker room.
11:28: Sharks are keeping the puck in the offensive zone, but can’t hit the net.
10:43: And Micheal Haley takes a seat for roughing. Just what the Sharks needed.
9:18: The Sharks’ penalty kill has been very solid this game.
8:40: Sharks kill the penalty. Now can they please, please get something going offensively?
5:25: THEY SCORE!!!! Marc-Edouard Vlasic crashes the net after Timo Meier’s great chance and puts it past Grubauer unguarded, and we have a tied game!
Or do we? The Avalanche are challenging for goaltender interference.
GOOD GOAL! And another great announcement from Wes McCauley!
4:00: That’s a nice lead pass to Thornton, but he can’t do anything with it.
3:35: Now the Sharks are buzzing. Exactly what the doctor ordered.
1:16: And the Avalanche retake the lead. J.T. Compher releases one from the blueline that Jones was screened on.
:09.8: THEY SCORE!!!!! Brent Burns surges into the offensive zone with a great pass from Erik Karlsson waiting, and snaps it past Grubauer, and we once again have a tie game!
END SECOND: Sharks 2, Avalanche 2
This is setting up to be a wild finish. My emotions are all over the place right now.
19:36: Nyquist beats Sam Girard to the icing, really good way to start.
16:00: J.T. Compher. Again. This time, he beats Jones backhand, and the Avalanche re-take the lead.
12:26: The Sharks are currently giving up odd-man rushes down by one. Yuck.
10:41: Dillon is now with Brent Burns. Not sure if Ryan’s been placed in the doghouse and they’re rotating defenders or if DeBoer just decided to put Vlasicsson back together.
7:00: After a promising end to the second period and a promising start to the third, the Sharks look flatter than a week-old Sprite.
5:55: Justin Braun gets a good look, but he misses the net.
3:55: Erik Karlsson’s shot hits Couture up front.
3:18: Gus Nyquist has a brilliant chance ... but misses the net.
2:28: THEY SCORE!!!!!!! MARC-EDOUARD VLASIC TIES THE GAME WITH HIS SECOND GOAL OF THE GAME!!!
1:00: Here we go. Final minute of regulation.
:07.3: Feels like Brent Burns ices the puck more than any other defenseman.
And we head to overtime.
END THIRD: Sharks 3, Avalanche 3
18:33: A long-range shot from Tyson Jost is corralled by Martin Jones.
17:58: Erik Karlsson winds up, shoots, but it’s blocked by Colin Wilson.
17:28: We are going back to San Jose for Game 7.
FINAL (OT): Sharks 2, Avalanche 3
Though it has little to do with the stellar on-ice performance — particularly from Martin Jones, Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture — Joe Pavelski made his first public appearance since his head injury in Game 7 in round one during the second intermission of Game 5. He has also traveled with the team to Denver and while he won’t be returning to the lineup, Game 7 proved what kind of impact he has in the room.
The Sharks haven’t maintained a lead yet this postseason and certainly don’t want to play through another Game 7 ahead of the Western Conference Final if they can help it.
Standing in their way, the Avalanche are rolling out 11 forwards and seven defensemen. Nathan MacKinnon will certainly be pushing his time on ice to the limit while the Avalanche play essentially three lines deep.
Expected scratches: Dylan Gambrell, Tim Heed, Radim Simek, Antti Suomela, Lukas Radil
Injured reserve: Joe Pavelski (undisclosed)
Avalanche (via Mile High Hockey)
Gabriel Landeskog — Nathan MacKinnon — Alexander Kerfoot
Colin Wilson — Carl Soderberg — Mikko Rantanen
Tyson Jost — J.T. Compher — Matt Nieto
Gabriel Bourque — Derick Brassard
Ian Cole — Erik Johnson
Nikita Zadorov — Tyson Barrie
Samuel Girard — Cale Makar
Expected scratches: Matt Calvert, Sven Andrighetto, Ryan Graves, Mark Barberio, Vladislav Kamenev
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.