Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks
By Mary Walsh
The Colorado Avalanche defeated the San Jose Sharks 4-3 in overtime at the Pepsi Center Monday. The win means that the teams will come back to San Jose to play a seventh game in their second round playoffs series. Avs goals came from JT Compher (2), Tyson Jost and Gabriel Landeskog. Sharks goals came from Marc-Edouard Vlasic (2) and Brent Burns. Philipp Grubauer made 19 saves for the win, while Martin Jones made 22 saves in a losing effort.
Although the overtime game-winner was scored by the Avs team captain Gabriel Landeskog, Sharks forward Logan Couture said: “Their depth guys beat us tonight. We got beat by JT Compher, Tyson Jost, their second, third, fourth line.”
Similarly, two of the Sharks’ three goals also came from an unusual suspect, Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
After the game, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said: “We got three goals from our defensemen. I thought if there was one disappointing area, I thought our forwards could have found a way to do a little bit more. I thought, as a group, they have to be better for us if we’re going to move on here.”
The first period was marked by three penalties called in a bunch between 12:06 and 17:34. Two went against the Sharks, one on Kevin Labanc for holding, another on Joe Thornton for tripping Matt Nieto. A penalty against Colorado roughly 30 seconds into the second Colorado power play gave the teams 90 seconds of four-on-four. The Sharks only allowed one shot in those penalty kills, but got no shots during their very short power play. The Sharks only got credit for five shots in the first period, while Colorado got 11.
The second period made up for the lack of scoring in the first. The teams traded goals back and forth for four goals period.
Starting with a cross-ice pass in the neutral zone from Ian Cole to JT Compher, the Avalanche moved up the ice fast. Compher sent the puck back across the ice to Jost who was almost to the net, setting him up to shoot before Jones could get across. Assists went to Compher and Cole. The time of the goal was 6:04.
The Avs kept the pressure on for some shifts after that. A minute or so later, Brent Burns caught Mikko Rantanen with a hip check in open ice, sending Rantanen to the dressing room for a spell. The Sharks finally responded with some offensive zone time and after a couple of false starts, sustained pressure on the Colorado net.
They were rewarded with a goal at 14:36 from Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Timo Meier had just brought the puck in and tried to get a shot away as he fended off Cale Makar. The puck bounced harmlessly off of Grubauer, but Vlasic was trailing the play and time to lift the puck over the goalie’s pad. Colorado challenged the goal for goaltender interference, after Meier’s skate touched Grubauer’s pad. The goal stood up. Assists went to Meier and Gus Nyquist.
Colorado took the lead back at 18:44. A clearing attempt was thwarted by Alexander Kerfoot on the blue line. While Carl Soderberg carried the puck around the boards, Kerfoot moved to the net to provide a screen. With Vlasic pressuring him, Soderberg made a short pass to Compher, who was at the blue line. Compher’s shot whizzed by Jones unseen by the goalie. Assists went to Soderberg and Kerfoot.
The Sharks tied it again just over a minute later, with 10 seconds left in the period. Tmo Meier fought his way into the zone before losing the puck. Erik Karlsson was there to find it and make a pass to Brent Burns, who was just coming off of the bench. Burns skated in for the shot and beat Grubauer on the right side. Karlsson got the assist.
Through the second period, the teams were tied in shots as well as goals, with eight each.
JT Compher gave the Avs yet another lead four minutes into the third period. Colin Wilson got the puck across the line before he ran into the Sharks defense. Derick Brassard was coming into the zone too fast for the Sharks to adjust. He took the puck below the face-off dot for a bad angle shot that bounced off of Jones. Meanwhile, Compher had come down the other side and skated across in front of the net for a back hand shot over Jones’ pads. Assists went to Brassard and Wilson.
The Sharks had an astonishingly long offensive zone late in the period. A broken stick for Mikko Rantanen helped them out there. Rantanen got a new stick, but not before the Sharks had worn the Colorado defense to a frazzle. Finally, a shot from Marc-Edouard Vlasic tied it for the third time, at 17:32. Logan Couture made a short pass form behind the net to Vlasic. Vlasic didn’t have a shot, but he sent it through the blue paint, where Meier might have been able to knock it in. Instead, it went off of Nikita Zadorov’s skate and in. Assists went to Couture and Nyquist.
In the third period, the Sharks out-shot the Avalanche 8-5, and killed one more penalty during which they allowed not shots. Colorado dominated the face-off battle in the first period, winning 72% of them. As the game went on, the Sharks improved there, winning 52% in the second and 58% in the third.
Overtime did not last long. Colorado started the period with early pressure. The Sharks had a couple of good shifts in the second minute, but Colorado’s top line finally got on the board with the winner at 2:32. After the Sharks almost cleared the puck out of a battle in the corner, Cale Makar kept it in at the blue line and sent it back down. Gabriel Landeskog, who had dumped the puck in, then fought for it in the corner, was there in the slot to get the pass. The puck tried to bounce off of his stick but he reached for it and nudged it under Jones. Makar got the only assist.
Neither team has won two games in a row in this series. The last time the Sharks played in back-to-back seven-game series was 1994. Their next Game 7 will be on Wednesday at SAP Center in San Jose at 6:00 PM PT.