Sharks Defeat Avalanche 3-2, Hertl Scores Twice in 500th Game

The San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl (48) celebrates scoring in the second period against Colorado Avalanche goaltender Phillipp Brubauer (31) at SAP Center in San Jose on Wed May 5, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks won 3-2 after a tight game against the Colorado Avalanche Wednesday. The Sharks’ Tomas Hertl scored twice in his 500th NHL game and Erik Karlsson added the game winner on a power play. Josef Korenar made 30 saves for his third NHL win. Tyson Jost and Andre Burakovsky scored for Colorado, with Philipp Grubauer making 30 saves in the loss.

The first period was scoreless. Colorado took two penalties in the period, giving up six shots to the Sharks power play. The Sharks took one penalty and gave up two shots to the Avalanche power play. The shot count for the period was 12-10 Sharks. Colorado won 12 of 21 face-offs.

The second period was scoreless until the 15:39 mark. Tyson Jost scored the first goal of the game by picking up a rebound as he skated across the slot. His backhand shot went over Korenar as the goalie fell forward. Assists went to Patrik Nemeth and Jacob MacDonald.

Andre Burakovsky made it 2-0 at 18:18. Nazem Kadri’s pass found Burakowsky in the face-off circle and Burakowsky took a moment to pick his shot. It went by Korenar on the glove side. Kadri and Conor Timmins got the assists.

Tomas Hertl cut the Colorado lead in half with a goal in the final seconds of the period. Evander Kane carried the puck in and made a pass across the slot just as Hertl arrived at the net to deflect the puck in. Assists went to Kane and Alexander Barabanov.

The Sharks took the only penalty in the second period, but their penalty kill did not allow any shots. Colorado out-shot San Jose 16-9 in the second, but won just 9 of 20 face-offs.

Hertl tied the game at 2:50 of the third period. Evander Kane’s shot created a rebound as Hertl passed in front of the net. Hertl found the puck in his skates and then scooped it into the net while falling to his knees. Assists went to Kane and Nikolai Knyzhov.

Erik Karlsson scored on a power play at 9:18. After several shots form the same spot, and with Grubauer’s stick on the ice behind the net, Karlsson’s shot finally went in. Assists went to Evander Kane and Tomas Hertl.

Colorado took two penalties in the third period, giving up three shots to the Sharks power play. The Sharks out-shot the Avalanche 12-6 in the third and won 9 of 21 face-offs. In all, the Avalanche won 53% of the face-offs in the game.

The Sharks next play on Friday in San Joe against the Arizona Coyotes at 7:30 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.

Sharks Beat Avs 2-1, Retake Series Lead 3-2

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks defeated the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 Saturday. With the win, the Sharks took a 3-2 lead in the second round playoff series. Four Sharks (Logan Couture, Evander Kane, Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns) had four shots on goal in the game, but Tomas Hertl had eight. It was hardly surprising that he had both goals for San Jose. Tyson Jost scored for the Avs. Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 21 saves in the win, while Philipp Grubauer made 37 saves for the Avs.

The Sharks held Nathan MacKinnon to a single shot in the game. After the game, Sharks forward Logan Couture was asked what the team’s game plan was against MacKinnon: “Our game plan against him is try and not to let him play in the offensive zone. It’s pretty difficult to do. He’s such a good player, he’s going to get his looks, he’s going to get the puck in the neutral zone. But I thought for the most part we limited, you know, maybe, his chances to the outside. He still gets looks, he’s such a good player.”

The Sharks put the puck in the net during the first period, a nice shot to the top corner from Kevin Labanc off a Joe Thornton feed. But it was called back because Timo Meier had his stick lifted near Mikko Rantanen’s face. It did not seem to make contact but the officials called it a penalty worthy of a disallowed goal. That was the second time in these playoffs that a Sharks goal was called back for a questionable penalty, but this time, the Sharks killed the penalty. They did not allow a shot in that power play.

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer was asked about the team’s reaction to that non-goal after the game: “I liked how we were playing. I loved how we started, I liked our first period I thought we were putting a lot of pressure on them. I thought, I could tell we were ready to play and committed to what we wanted to do. So it’s not as frustrating when that happens when your team is playing the way it is, because we knew that we were going to get opportunities for some more.”

At the end of the first period, the Sharks had won 59% of the face-offs and led in shots 12-6.

The Sharks were out-shooting the Avalanche consistently, despite suffering back-to-back penalties in the second period. The Avalanche still scored first, late in the second period. JT Compher took a shot off the rush and Jones kicked out a rebound. Brent Burns got to it first but he didn’t get all of it when he tried to clear it to the corner. It went into Tyson Jost’s skates and ended up behind Jones. It was Tyson Jost’s first of the playoffs. Assists went to Compher and Samuel Girard.

With the second period ticking away, the Sharks tied it up with a power play goal. At 19:40, Logan Couture took a shot from the slot off an Erik Karlsson feed. Tomas Hertl, lower down in the slot, deflected the shot past Grubauer to tie the game. The goal was not called back. It was Hertl’s seventh of the playoffs. Assists went to Couture and Karlsson.

In the second period, the Sharks won 63% of the face-offs, and had a shot lead of 29-15. Nine Avs players had shots on goal, while 13 Sharks had at least one shot.

The Sharks got an early power play in the third, courtesy of a high stick from Nikita Zadorov 31 seconds in. The Sharks got just one shot on that power play. After that, the Sharks did an excellent job of kicking Colorado out of their zone, but could not get themselves set up at the other end.

When they finally did get some extended zone time, the Sharks scored. Marc-Edouard Vlasic took a quick shot that hit the goaltender and dropped into the blue paint next to him. Tomas Hertl was battling for space in front of the net. Despite being pushed over the goaltender at the last second, he got a stick on the puck and pushed it over the line at 6:26. Assists went to Vlasiuc and Joonas Donskoi.

The Sharks went back on the power play at 7:31, when Zadorov went back to the box, this time for roughing. The Sharks got four shots on that power play.

The Avalanche pulled their goaltender with over two minutes left in the game, but did not score again. The Sharks tried to score in the empty net a few times but missed.

Game 6 will be on Monday night at the Pepsi Center in Denver at 7:00 PM PT.

Injury notes: Joonas Donskoi was back in the lineup, and Joe Pavelski made an appearance Saturday, waving to the fans from the tunnel. Pavelski is skating again, but there is still no timetable for his return to play.

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.