Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks
By Mary Walsh
SAN JOSE — The San Jose took an early lead and then fended off the resurgent Colorado Avalanche for a 4-3 win at home Friday. Sharks goals came from Marcus Sorensen (2), Joe Pavelski and Timo Meier. Martin Jones made 22 saves for the win, while Semyon Varlamov made an impressive 36 saves for the losing team. The Avalanche got goals from Samuel Girard, Mikko Rantanen and Nikita Zadorov.
After the game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said:
We got a lot of pucks back and I think we were fairly hungry. We played a much harder game, much more complete game and, you know, we were rewarded for it. We got to play in the o-zone a little bit tonight.
The Sharks scored in the first five minutes of the first two periods. The first came from Marcus Sorensen, who received a well-timed pass from Brent Burns. Burns took a few seconds deciding where to send that pass as he held the puck along the boards. The opening was small, but Sorensen was there to shoot through traffic and into the net. Assists went to Burns and Joe Thornton.
The second came from Timo Meier at 2:35 of the second. Joe Pavelski got to the puck off a defensive zone faceoff and was just able to tip it over to Meier as Meier left the zone. Meier carried it through the neutral zone and then took a shot above the faceoff circle, using a Colorado defender as a screen. Pavelski got the assist.
The Avalanche got one back from the stick of Nikita Zadorov at 4:55 of the second. After winning control of the puck below the goal line, the Avalanche moved the puck back to the point and across, drawing defenders with it. Zadorov’s shot came from the blue line while Marc-Edouard Vlasic was trying to clear Matt Calvert out of Jones’s way. Jones didn’t see the shot coming until too late. Assists went to Gabriel Landeskog and Ian Cole.
With just 44 seconds left in the second, Sorensen scored his second of the game. The Avalanche were on their heels after a long, high-pressure shift from the Sharks’ top line of Couture, Pavelski and Meier. Not long after the line change, Kevin Labanc took a shot from almost at the blue line, but it hit a defender in front of Varlamov. Hertl was on hand to try again but his shot hit the post and the puck fell dead in the blue paint, behind the goaltender. Meier was right there for the third try and swept it over the line. Assists went to Hertl and Labanc.
The Sharks led on the shot clock in both the first (9-6) and second (18-7) periods. They also prevailed in the faceoff circle 55% of the time.
The Avalanche got a power play goal from Mikko Rantanen at 10:08 of the third. It was a strange goal that started with a shot from Alexander Kerfoot, which Vlasic got a stick on. The puck went off of Vlasic’s stick to hit Landeskog in the torso as he skated to the net. It bounced off of him and landed near Martin Jones, but Rantanen got to it before Jones could get a glove on it. Assists went to Landeskog and Kerfoot.
The Sharks took back their two-goal lead on a power play at 12:39 of the third. Kevin Labanc was above the faceoff circle, skating toward the net. He looked very much like he would shoot, but he passed at the last second, finding Pavelski across the ice with an open net. It was Pavelski’s 36th goal of the season and assists went to Labanc and Couture.
Colorado would not sit still for that and Samuel Girard got one back with a shot off the rush at 13:27. The shot went cleanly through quite a bit of traffic. Assists went to Landeskog and Nathan McKinnon.
Colorado pulled Varlamov in the final minutes, but the Sharks held them off.
The Sharks power play went 1/3, while the Avalanche power play went 1/2. Evander Kane and Erik Karlsson were both out of the lineup Friday.
The Sharks next play on Sunday at 7:00 PM PT in San Jose, against the Chicago Blackhawks.