Sharks save game in shootout

sharks-niemi

Photo credit: AP

By Pearl Allison Lo

With the game down to the final round, San Jose’s Antti Niemi, backed by goal support, held on for a 3-2 win Tuesday over the Colorado Avalanche.

The Sharks now have their third two-game win streak of the season, as they continued their energetic run from last game versus the Anaheim Ducks. They had a season-high 23 shots in the first period and held their opponent scoreless in the first for the tenth time in eleven games.

Colorado had just come off an overtime loss.

Niemi continued to hold strong after San Jose killed off a power play from 3:55 on in overtime. In the shootout, Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski were perfect in the offensive role as Niemi stopped Alex Tanguay and Matt Duchene.

The Sharks were only able to score one goal through two periods, thanks mainly to Avalanche goalie Seymon Varlamov who stopped 49 of the 51 shots he faced.

At 9:23 of the first, San Jose’s Brent Burns got his third goal in as many games as he earned his 300th NHL point. Joe Thornton picked up the loose puck behind Varlamov after Burns went down to the ice. Thornton then passed to Mirco Mueller at the blue line and Burns deflected in his shot.

Shortly after, Varlamov was able to make five saves in less than a minute starting at 9:49. The last three came within a span of five seconds, two of them rebounds by Tomas Hertl off the crossbar and a wrister from Thornton, as Varlamov completed a 360 degree turn.

Duchene had a chance with 1.5 seconds left in the first right up front, but Niemi dove to make the save.

Colorado tied up the game shorthanded at 13:24 of the second. Erik Johnson saw Tanguay at the other end of the ice and passed. With just Logan Couture and Niemi in front of him then, Tanguay went around Couture, moved back and shot the puck behind a sprawled out Niemi. Jan Hejda had the second assist.

With 5.6 seconds left, Marleau had a one-on-one, but it was saved.

The Avalanche got their first lead in the third period at 3:04. Hejda bounced the puck off the boards from the goalline to Ryan O’Reilly near the first blue line, who passed it to Gabriel Landeskog. Landeskog then angled the puck near the goalline to get Niemi.

Couture re-tied the game at 5:03, starting and ending the play. He broke up a pass at the other end and passed it to Tommy Wingels. Wingels then passed it behind to Justin Braun as two defenders approached. Braun’s shot hit the post and Couture came from behind to finish.

Game notes: Neither team scored on the power play, going a combined 0-for-7. The Sharks will finish up their road trip Thursday against Minnesota at 5p.

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