By Ivan Makarov
SAN JOSE, CA — It took San Jose Sharks nearly two periods to score the first goal in the game, but once they got going, they couldn’t be stopped.
Prior to the first goal, not much was happening at the ice at the SAP Center, as both teams struggled to create any good offense and both goaltenders were sharp. The crowd was quiet and it did not look like a game that would end with anything but a one or three goals at best.
But the goal happened at last, at 16:35 mark in the second period when Sharks capitalized on the possession of the puck inside the Colorado’s zone. Brent Burns got open for a shot at the blue line. He took it and Scott Hannan redirected the puck into the net, standing just outside the crease. Hannan doesn’t find himself there often, as he is a stay-home defenseman, but it worked this time, and he scored his second goal this season.
Sharks found themselves in penalty trouble not long after when Brent Burns tripped Alex Tunguay with less then a minute left in the game, but they managed to kill that penalty off.
Chris Tierney doubled the Sharks lead in the third period when he scored off the rebound from Taylor Fedun’s shot off the rush at 08:01 mark in the third period.
Colorado cut the Sharks lead to just one goal when Matt Duchene scored 53 seconds later on the power play when Sharks’ Justin Braun was in the box for a delay of game penalty. Duchene had the puck around the face-off circle and decided to shoot it short side. That’s the puck that shouldn’t go into the net, but Stalock let it slip just above his shoulder and into the net.
Sharks responded just a minute later. Logan Couture took the puck away behind Avalanche net and saw Patrick Marleau open right in front. A quick pass resulted in a quick goal by Marleau, as he was shooting the puck point blank, putting the Sharks ahead 3-1.
Avalanche pulled the goaltender early in the third period, with more than 4 minutes left in the game, as their head coach Patrick Roy likes to do. The move did not pay off, as Logan Couture scored an empty netter to put the Sharks up 4-1.
Normally that would be the goal that seals the victory, but Roy pulled the goaltender again, and once again the Sharks scored. This time it was an unlikely hero John Scott. He was clearing the puck out of his zone with a backhander, but the puck went all the way into the net. This was Scott’s third goal this season – a career high for Sharks’ enforcer.
The win kept the Sharks playoffs hopes alive, but the chance for post season is still very slim. To make tournament, Sharks have to win the rest of the games, and hope that Winnipeg Jets and LA Kings lose more games that they win the rest of the way. The schedule doesn’t look hard for the Sharks the rest of the way, with three games against outsiders Arizona Coyotes and Edmonton Oilers and home games against the Dallas Stars and LA Kings. But they still don’t control their own destiny.
But the win keeps them motivated to finish the season strong.