Sharks Fall 4-3 to Avalanche, Couture Leaves Game With Injury

NHL on ice official Bob Meier (34) takes a look over San Jose Shark Logan Couture (39) after taking a deflected pass off his cheek in the first period Sunday night at SAP Center (photo sfgate.com)

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE– The San Jose Sharks fell to the visiting Colorado Avalanche 4-3 Sunday. The loss extended the Sharks’ current losing streak to three. Colorado goals came from Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, Vladislav Namestnikov and Joonas Donskoi. Avalanche goaltender, Pavel Fracouz made 22 saves in the win. Sharks goals came from Joe Thornton, Melker Karlsson and Noah Gregor. Martin Jones made

Before anyone scored a goal, Logan Couture took a deflected puck to the face. After the game, Sharks forward Timo Meier explained what he had seen of the incident: “Unlucky play. I was trying to make a pass and it got deflected. He didn’t see it coming and I’m not sure where it hit him. Very unfortunate, I hope he’s doing well. A big part of our team, a big leader so I hope he’s recovering quick.”

Coach Bob Boughner said “I believe it was his cheek and he went under concussion protocol with the NHL. I think it was just precautionary, that we didn’t want to throw him back in there. But I don’t think it’s anything serious, I think he’s going to be fine.” Additionally, Boughner did not rule Couture out for the next game.

While Couture was being injured, Vladislav Kamenev was being called for interference against Joe Thornton. During the resulting power play, the Sharks started the scoring at 11:16. Timo Meier sent the puck from high in the slot to the net. Evander Kane was there to receive it but it went off of Erik Johnson’s skate and followed an unexpected trajectory. Kane reached for it and just pushed it across the goal mouth. Joe Thornton was right where he needed to be to gather the stray puck and put it in the net. Assists went to Kane and Meier.

Nathan MacKinnon tied it up with a power play goal for Colorado at 16:17. The Sharks had just stopped a shot by JT Compher but it rebounded up the slot to Gabriel Landeskog. He made a quick pass to MacKinnon who was waiting in the face-off circle to take the shot.

At the end of the first period, the shot count was 8-7 Colorado and the Avalanche won 69% of the face-offs.

Landeskog gave his team a lead early in the second period, just 1:59 in. A turnover in the neutral zone left Radim Simek facing a two on one of Landeskog and MacKinnon. MacKinnon took the shot and Jones stopped it but Landeskog was trailing just enough to put the rebound in the net. Assists went to MacKinnon and Vladislav Namestnikov.

Melker Karlsson tied it back up again less than two minutes later. Getting a jump on traffic through the neutral zone, Karlsson caught a pass from Marcus Sorensen near the Sharks blue line and skated the other way all alone. He went right up the middle and beat Pavel Francouz with a quick wrist shot. Sorensen got the assist.

Vladislav Namestnikov completed the goal set for his line at 8:41 of the second. Landeskog made a pass around the Sharks defenders and Namestnikov caught it but not in a great shooting position. He had to spin and shoot it back behind the goaltender to get the goal. Assists went to Landeskog and MacKinnon.

The Sharks had to kill a lengthy power play between 15:35 and 18:53, with a little under 40 seconds of five-on-three. Melker Karlsson went to the box for slashing, and then Timo Meier was called for hooking. The Sharks allowed just one shot during those penalties.

In the second period, the shot count was 10-7 Colorado and the Avalanche also won 60% of the face-offs.

A couple of things went unnoticed by the men in stripes during the third period. Colorado got away with too many men on the ice around the 10 minute mark, and then Timo Meier got whacked on the hands without any official noticing. The audience saw enough of both incidents to object loudly.

Joonas Donskoi made it 4-2 Avalanche after J.T. Compher found him with a backhand pass off the rush. It was a very nifty play, reminiscent of Donskoi in teal. Assists went to Compher and Erik Johnson.

With just under two minutes left, Evander Kane was felled with a high stick, putting the Sharks on a short power play. Kane appeared none the worse for wear during the power play.

With the Sharks goalie pulled, Noah Gregor scored his second goal of the season with 44 seconds left in the period. Assists went to Meier and Kevin Labanc.

The third period shot count was 11-6 Sharks, with the Avalanche winning 52% of the face-offs.

The Sharks next play on Wednesday in Chicago against the Blackhawks at 5:00 PM PT.

Sharks Beat Avs 3-2, Advance to Western Conference Final

Photo credit: @NBCSSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — For the fifth time in their history, the San Jose Sharks are going to the Western Conference Final after defeating the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 Wednesday. Sharks goals came from Joe Pavelski, Tomas Hertl, and Joonas Donskoi. Avs goals came from Mikko Rantanen and Tyson Jost. Martin Jones made 27 saves for the win, while Philipp Grubauer made 24 saves in a losing effort.

Sharks captain Joe Pavelski was a game-time decision Wednesday, and the final decision was to play.

After the game, Sharks forward Logan Couture said of Pavelski: “For a guy that missed playoff action for two weeks, to have the injury that he has, to come back, set up a goal, score a goal. I wish I could tell you what he’s gone through, from seeing it first hand, you wouldn’t believe that he’s playing right now, I’ll just say that. He played unbelievable.”

Due to Pavelski’s return, Joonas Donskoi was bumped down to the fourth line and then he scored the game-winning goal. Thus, the game-winners in both Sharks Game 7s were scored by fourth-liners, which was what Logan Couture said the team needed after Game 6. Couture was asked about that after Wednesday’s game. Couture said of Donskoi:

Donny was great, we needed something, I said it last time. We needed some other guys to step up and score goals and I thought they were very very good tonight. I thought Donny played excellent: he was all over the puck, created chances. They had a really good night when maybe my line, we didn’t create much and have too too many chances. So we needed it.

Nathan MacKinnon went down with a shoulder injury in the first two minutes of play. He returned around the 15-minute mark and appeared to be able-bodied again.

The first goal of the game quieted any concerns about Joe Pavelski’s readiness to play. Tomas Hertl retrieved the puck in the corner and sent it back up the boards to Brent Burns. Burns had time to pick his spot and that spot was right on goal, through the Pavelski tip lane. Pavelski caught the puck with the bottom of his stick blade and sent it bouncing at the net, much lower than Grubauer was ready for. It was Pavelski’s third of the post season. Burns and Hertl got the assists.

The Sharks added another at 11:35. After Evander Kane sent the puck around behind the Avs net, Pavelski retrieved it and then brought it back the way it came. As he passed the net, he passed to an unguarded Hertl, right above the blue paint. Hertl knocked it in quick as a cat. Two defenders, intent on Pavelski’s movements, had not noticed Hertl back there. The one who did notice was not close enough to stop him. Assists went to Pavelski and Kane.

Mikko Rantanen scored with just seven seconds left in the first period, cutting the Sharks’ lead in half. Samuel Girard took a shot right down the slot from the blue line and Rantanen tipped it up into the net. A second assist went to Gabriel Landeskog.

Colin Wilson appeared to have tied the game near the eight minute mark of the second, but the goal was challenged by the Sharks for an offside play. Upon review, the goal was disallowed.

Joonas Donskoi came off the schneid with the Sharks’ third goal of the game. Picking up the puck near the corner, he carried it around behind the net, came out front and took a wrist shot at the near top corner. It was his first goal since January. Assists went to Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson.

The Avs scored again 51 seconds into the third period. Alexander Kerfoot’s shot came out as a rebound that Colin Wilson tried to push back in, but Vlasic got to that. Vlasic’s clearing attempt hit Hertl and bounced back toward the net. Tyson Jost was able to reach it before Jones or Vlasic could. Assists went to Wilson and Kerfoot.

The Avs pulled their goaltender with 2:10 left in regulation, but the Sharks and their goaltender held them off.

Game 1 of the Western Conference Final will be on Saturday the 11th at 5:00 PM PT. The Sharks will host the St. Louis Blues at SAP Center.

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs/San Jose Sharks podcast with Len Shapiro: Jones, a huge instrument in shutting down Avalanche for Game 5 tonight

Photo credit: @BayAreaSportsHQ

On the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs/SJ Sharks podcast with Len:

#1 Judging from the San Jose Sharks and the Colorado Avalanche, does Len see this series going to seven games?

#2 How much of a difference in goal has Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer made in this series he’s been 93% average in league? His big game was game four when he shutout the Sharks 3-0 saved 32 shots in game four.

#3 Also, not to take anything away from Sharks goalie Martin Jones, whose save percentage is .910 in the postseason, which is up from his regular season save percentage of .896.

#4 Although the series is tied at 2-2, it’s important to note the Sharks won two of the first three games of this series and can lend into Game 5.

#5 The Avalanche’s Nathan McKinnon has six goals and seven assists in eight playoff games. How important is it for the Sharks defense to key in on him in Game 5?

#6 The Sharks have not been able to put a decent power play together in this series going 1-11.

#7 Thornton, Sorenson, LeBanc have combined for one assist in the last three games

#8 Hertl and Kane do not have a point in the last two games, Pavelski is a no show and will not play

Len Shapiro is covering the San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche Stanley Cup Playoffs series and podcasts each Saturday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

 

Avalanche Win 3-0, Tie Series with Sharks

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The Colorado Avalanche tied their second round series with the San Jose Sharks by winning in 3-0 in Denver on Thursday. Their goal scorers were Nathan MacKinnon, Colin Wilson and Erik Johnson. It was MacKinnon’s sixth of the playoffs, and his second in this round against the Sharks. Philipp Grubauer made 32 saves for the shutout win, while Martin Jones made 25 saves in the loss.

Sharks forward Logan Couture blamed turnovers for the loss: “I thought we turned way too many pucks over. Way too many, handed them goals off turnovers inside of our blue line, and just bad decisions with the puck.”

Couture also pointed to missed opportunities: “It seems like it’s been the story of this series where we’ve had some good looks, we don’t score, and it costs us. The amount of times where we’ve had, you know, breakaways or good looks in the slot and we don’t score, and they come back and they score soon after.”

Five Sharks had three or more shots on goal, and they had more than one breakaway Thursday.

The game was remarkably even for the first half. Shot counts were within two in each period, there were no penalties in the first and two per team in the second. The Sharks won 53% of the face-offs in both of the first two periods.

After the game, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said: “It was one of those games I thought, half way through, you know, I kind of had the feeling whoever was going to score first was probably going to win. And you know they got the goal, they got the energy they started to grab some momentum, win a few more battles than we were winning from that point on. But I really felt the game was right there at least up until that point.”

The Sharks’ first power play was cut short by an overlapping penalty to Kevin Labanc. That raised some eyebrows since Erik Karlsson had been conspicuously tripped while he carried the puck through the neutral zone, in full view of most observers. That was not called, which would have given the Sharks a two-man advantage.

The first goal came in the middle of the second period. It was scored by Nathan MacKinnon on a second effort, after Jones had already stopped a nice attempt. Cale Makar shot the puck for a deflection by Mikko Rantanen, and Jones stopped that with his mask, but the rebound went off of Burns in front of the net. Burns tried to knock it away from the net, but didn’t get all of it, so it started to fall down to the blue paint. MacKinnon was close enough to knock it past Jones.

The second Colorado goal came on a power play that saw Justin Braun in the box for tripping Alexander Kerfoot. A clearing attempt by Brent Burns was cut short by Colin Wilson and fell to Gabriel Landeskog to carry back in. The Sharks’ penalty killers were caught a little off kilter and, in a scramble by the net, none of them could get control of the puck again. It trickled out of traffic to Wilson, who had an open net by then. Assists went to Rantanen and Landeskog.

At 8:05 of the third, Braun went to the box again after a careless high stick that caught Colin Wilson in the face. Seconds before that penalty was to expire, Brent Burns joined Braun in the box for hooking Samuel Girard. The Sharks were doing a great job killing the first penalty, were in fact all south of the center line attempting some short-handed offense. Girard got past Burns and Burns got his stick up around Girard’s arms as Girard closed on the Sharks net. That gave the Sharks 14 seconds of five-on-three to kill.

The Sharks did kill it off. In the last two minutes of the period, they pulled Jones for an extra skater. Two goals in two minutes was unlikely even with six skaters. Instead, Colorado got their third of the night, put into the empty net by Erik Johnson. Assists went to Matt Calvert and Matt Nieto.

Game 5 will be in San Jose on Saturday at 7:00 PM PT.

Around the nine-minute mark of the third, Nyquist went down in a collision with MacKinnon and required some attention from the trainer. He did not miss much game time, if any, for that. The Sharks shortened their bench once again in the third period. Joakim Ryan did not skate in the third and Lukas Radil only had one shift. Micheal Haley and Marcus Sorensen also had their shifts cut down.

Sharks Take Game 3, Beat Avs 4-2 with Couture Hat Trick

Photo credit:

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks took a 2-1 series lead over the Colorado Avalanche, winning 4-2 in Denver Tuesday. Three of the Sharks’ goals came from Logan Couture, and one from Timo Meier. Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Nieto scored for Colorado. Martin Jones made 25 saves for the win, and Philipp Grubauer made 27 saves in the loss.

After the game, Martin Jones said of Logan Couture: “He’s clutch, I mean big games, big moments in games, he’s the guy that, every time, you can rely on. So, he was huge again tonight.”

The Sharks took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission, but then saw the game tied 2-2 in the third period. Of the team’s response to this situation, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said:

I loved our response, it was even-keeled, there was no panic, you know, it was just ‘get out there and let’s get back at this.’ I think we knew, at that point it was 2-2, but, you know, we deserved to be in a different spot than that. We knew what was working for us and we just needed to get back to that.

Power plays were remarkably unproductive in the game. None scored and only one power play in the game generated more than one shot, Colorado’s in the second period. That one only got two shots.

Sharks defenseman Justin Braun said, of his team’s defensive success in the game: “I think it came down to the pk. You know, we did a really good job, they had a lot of good chances but we kept it out of the net.”

The Sharks had two power plays by the time the middle of the first period had gone by. They had few shots on those power plays that looked dangerous, but hit a lot of metal. The Avs had their first power play abbreviated as it overlapped with the Sharks’ second one. The power plays and the four-on-four added to the speed of the period, which didn’t generate any scoring until the last five minutes.

Logan Couture was able to score after a prolonged attack on the Colorado net, at 15:24. Grubauer made several saves before Couture put the puck past him with a reaching swipe at his own rebound. Assists went to Gus Nyquist and Timo Meier.

Timo Meier added another in the final minute of the period. Rushing in after intercepting the puck in the neutral zone, Meier blew past the unsuspecting defense and took the shot without slowing down. The puck rang the bar on its way in.

The shot count for the first period was 13-7 Sharks. The Sharks jumped right into the second with four shots in the first 90 seconds of the period. The Avs had two in those 90.

The Sharks had a great shift from the Couture-Meier-Kane line around the 3:20 mark. While the forwards kept the Avs locked in the defensive zone, defensemen Vlasic and Burns got some shots in to stir things up. A shot from Vlasic bounced up and over Grubauer, but managed to stay out. Before the 10-minute mark, the Sharks were on the power play and already had eleven shots to Colorado’s three.

The power play came from a high stick to Micheal Haley’s face. The Sharks did not score but the power play time kept the Avs on their heels. The teams traded penalties again as the period wore on but penalty killers were perfect in the second, technically.

Less than a second after the second Sharks power play expired, Ian Cole intercepted a stretch pass from Brent Burns. He got the puck right to Nathan MacKinnon as he flew off the bench and through the neutral zone. Burns was caught flat-footed as MacKinnon went around him and beat Jones with a quick shot. It was MacKinnon’s fifth of the playoffs. Cole got the lone assist.

The Sharks again outshot the Avs, 13-9 in the second. The Avs came out energized for the third, and got six shots in to the Sharks’ two in the first half of the period. The Sharks also took a too many men penalty at 6:02. Colorado got one shot in that power play, but there were signs of fatigue from the Sharks.

Erik Karlsson’s attempt to move the puck up the boards from behind the net was blocked by Tyson Jost and bounced harmlessly to the corner. That led to an extended attack from Colorado against Sharks, who had already been on the ice for too long. Samuel Girard’s shot came down from the blue line into traffic and went off of Matt Nieto, into the net at 11:45. It was Nieto’s fourth of the playoffs. Assists went to Girard and Cale Makar.

Despite appearances, the Sharks were not completely gassed yet, and they made their first significant push of the third into the offensive zone. After Gus Nyquist forced a turnover just inside the Colorado blue line, Logan Couture, who had been dawdling before leaving the zone, got the puck and had a clear lane to the net. With a couple of little moves, he avoided a defender’s stick and got Grubauer moving just enough to let the puck get by on the short side. It was Couture’s eighth of the playoffs. Nyquist got the assist.

Colorado finished the game on a power play, but they pulled their goaltender to add a sixth skater. Colorado could not really hold the zone and, after a few tries, the Sharks got an empty net goal. It was Couture’s for the hat trick.

Gus Nyquist was able to make it to the game even though he did not travel with the team. He stayed behind with his wife while she delivered their first child, a daughter named Charlotte.

After the game, Nyquist said: “It’ll be nice to lay down in bed tonight and think about a few good days.”

Game 4 will be Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver at 7:00 PM PT.

Avalanche Tie Series with 4-3 Win Over Sharks

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The Colorado Avalanche edged the San Jose Sharks in Game 2 with a 4-3 win at SAP Center Sunday, tying the second round playoff series at one apiece. Avs’ goals came from Gabriel Landeskog, Tyson Barrie, Matt Nieto and Nathan MacKinnon. Sharks’ goals came from Evander Kane and Brent Burns (2). Philipp Grubauer made 31 saves for Colorado, while Martin Jones made 28 saves on 31 shots for San Jose.

After the game, Sharks forward Evander Kane said: “I thought we did a good job early on, we just let them hang around too long.”

Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson elaborated on the same theme:

I think that we played well, we did a lot of good things out there. Just couldn’t find a way to score goals and got a little frustrated as the game went along and started doing our own thing a little too much. We know that doesn’t work in here and you know we should have learned by now but we didn’t. They capitalized on the chances they got and made us play from behind.

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer pointed to the Sharks’ net-front presence as an issue: “I thought it was a pretty even game. I thought we didn’t get to their net enough. We had some real good looks where he made a couple big saves but I thought we could have made it a little tougher on him traffic-wise on our point shots. And I thought we could have done a better job in front of Jonesy, you know, on their point shots.”

Evander Kane started the scoring at 7:57 of the first. Kane was in front of the net and got behind Cale Makar as a blueline shot from Brent Burns came in. With a couple of strong moves, he fended off Makar and put the puck past Grubauer. Assists went to Brent Burns and Tomas Hertl. It was Kane’s second of the playoffs.

Colorado tied it up at 8:21. Tyson Barrie took a shot from the blue line into traffic and it went off of Gabriel Landeskog right on the edge of the blue paint. It was Landeskog’s second of the playoffs. Assists went to Barrie and Nathan MacKinnon.

The Avalanche got a lead on a goal from Tyson Barrie at 16:31. The play could have easily been called an icing, as Marc-Edouard Vlasic was the first to the hash marks, but the officials did not call it and play continued on.

After the game, Vlasic said “I’ll take the high road and wait for the League’s apology tomorrow.”

Barrie’s shot came from above the face-off circle when the puck emerged from a battle by the other side of the net. Jones was coming across from that and could not stop Barrie’s shot. Assists went to Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen.

Colorado’s lead expanded at 10:10 of the third. Martin Jones looked like he thought he had the puck frozen under him but it was slowly moving behind him. Brenden Dillon got his stick in there to push it away from the goal line but he hit it a little too hard and it bounced off of Jones back into the net. The goal went to Matt Nieto, his third of the playoffs. Assists went to Matt Calvert and Barrie.

The Sharks had some good luck in the form of Alexander Kerfoot’s broken skate, which left Brent Burns free to move and shoot without Kerfoot getting in his way. Burns did just that and brought the Sharks within one at 15:26. Assists went to Erik Karlsson and Marcus Sorensen.

That Sharks momentum was shattered when, moments later, Timo Meier allowed his stick to get into Nathan MacKinnon’s skate and that put the Avalanche on a power play. The Sharks killed off the penalty, but had little time to get the tying goal. With just over a minute to go, they pulled their goaltender for the extra skater. Nathan MacKinnon got control of the puck and put it in the empty net at 18:58. Assists went to Calvert and Philipp Grubauer.

The Sharks did get that third goal, in a 17-second power play at the end of the game. Four skaters battled for puck in the slot, but Tomas Hertl got to it first and tapped it ahead to Burns, who was moving through the outside of the face-off circle. He had a clear shot and he took it. Assists went to Hertl and Kane. That left the Sharks 10 more seconds to tie it with a fourth but they couldn’t get that done.

Melker Karlsson left the game late in the third period after being crushed against the glass by Derick Brassard.

Game 3 will be Tuesday at the Pepsi Center in Denver at 7:00 PM PT.

Sharks Beat Avalanche 5-2, Erik Karlsson Returns

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks finished the 2018-19 regular season with a 5-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche at SAP Center on Saturday night. The win was Peter DeBoer’s 400th as an NHL Head Coach and Gus Nyquist’s 500th NHL game. Evander Kane scored his 30th of the season bringing the Sharks tally to four players with 30 or more goals this season. The Sharks’ 101 points earned them second place in the Western Conference. It was a good final game of the regular season. Sharks goals came from Brent Burns, Evander Kane, Kevin Labanc, Gus Nyquist and Micheal Haley. Martin Jones made 28 saves in the win, while Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov made 25 saves in the loss. Colorado goals came from Tyson Jost and Nathan MacKinnon.

After the game, Sharks forward Evander Kane said: “It was good to close the season out with a win, and have another 100 point season here. I think it’s nice to have a victory like that and to have everybody feeling good about their games heading into next week.”

Sharks fans got some good news on the injury front Saturday. Erik Karlsson was back in the lineup though Timo Meier was not, after an injury sustained in Thursday’s game against Edmonton. Meier is expected back for the playoffs and Karlsson had the second highest ice time Saturday.

After the game, Pete DeBoer said of Karlsson’s performance Saturday: “We went into the game and we didn’t really have a plan other than we wanted to play him normally until there was either red flags or he started to fatigue or the trainers thought that was enough. Really, he felt good, you know, deep into the third period so that was good.”

Colorado struck first, just 2:56 into the game. A Colorado shot was blocked high in the slot and the puck wandered in a crowd before being controlled again, by Tyson Jost. The shot went past a number of skaters before getting by Jones. Assists went to Samuel Girard and Erik Johnson.

Evander Kane had a nice breakaway chance, which led to an offensive zone face-off for the Sharks. Right off of that face-off, Brent Burns scored with a blast from the blue line. Tomas Hertl got the assist.

A few minutes later, Evander Kane gave the Sharks a 2-1 lead at 11:15. Kane was in front of the net battling two Colorado defenders when Gus Nyquist got the puck to the net with a spinning pass. Kane shrugged off the two defenders to find the puck and nudge it under Semyon Varlamov. Assists went to Nyquist and Brenden Dillon.

The Sharks were out-shot by the Avalanche 12-10 in the first period, but overwhelmed them in the face-off circle, winning 74% of them. The bulk of those face-offs were taken by Thornton, Goodrow and Hertl.

The Avalanche scored another early goal in the second period, this one at 1:29. Nathan MacKinnon scooted between Sharks defenders while catching a pass from Gabriel Landeskog. He stayed ahead of the Sharks just long enough to get a quick shot off, beating Jones on the glove side. Assists went to Landeskog and Samuel Girard.

Kevin Labanc scored at 6:57, giving the Sharks their lead back. Joe Thornton brought the puck into the zone and then waited for his line-mates to get into position. Labanc received the pass and seemed to be trying to pass it to Sorensen who was almost at the blue paint. Instead, the puck went off of an Avalanche stick and up and over Ian Cole and Sorensen, landing behind Varlamov. Assists went to Thornton and Sorensen.

The shot count tilted slightly in the Sharks’ favor in the second, ending up 12-9 for the Sharks. San Jose maintained their face-off success, still at 73% by the end of the second.

The Sharks did not give up a goal in the first five minutes of the third period. Instead, they scored again at 14:15. Evander Kane retrieved the puck in the corner and sent it away from the boards, where Nyquist picked it up on his way through the face-off circle. He picked the near corner of the net and sent the puck over Varlamov’s shoulder. It was Nyquist’s 22nd of the season. Assists went to Kane and Tomas Hertl.

The Avalanche pulled their goaltender with over three minutes to go. Joe Pavelski put the puck into that empty net with 3:01 left in the game, but it was challenged as off-side. Joonas Donskoi tried to straddle the blue line while the puck crept across but he couldn’t keep his back skate on the ice. The goal was called back.

A little over a minute later, Micheal Haley was able to break away and score in the empty net to make it 5-2. Brent Burns got the assists on that one.

The final shot count was 30-30, and the Sharks won 69% of the face-offs. Barclay Goodrow took 14 of the face-offs and won 86% of them.

The playoff schedule will be announced shortly. The Sharks will start at home next week, against the Vegas Golden Knights.