After winning the first round of the NHL playoffs, the San Jose Sharks faced off against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 1 of the Second Round Friday night at the Shark Tank.
Starting slow and finishing hot, the Sharks beat the Avalanche 5-2, winning the first game of the second round, but lost on Sunday, 4-3.
In the regular season, the Sharks swept the Avs, winning all three games against them.
“Special teams is what we need. We won on the power play last game [Game 7], and the penalty kill was a big reason we won this one,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said.
Starting slow, the Sharks allowed the Avalanche to set the tone. Shortly after the start of the game, Gabriel Bourque scored off a rebound shot for the Avalanche giving them a 1-0 lead.
Less than a minute later, Colorado gifted the Sharks with a “too many men on the ice” penalty, granting the Sharks a two minute power play.
The Sharks had a few chances to score in that time, however, they were unsuccessful in capitalizing on that opportunity.
Following that power play, San Jose took two quick offsides violations, limiting it’s offensive production.
The defense for the Sharks stepped up after the first allowed goal, particularly goalie Martin Jones.
Jones made several impressive saves in the later portion of the period, notably when he stopped a breakaway opportunity for the Avs.
“I’m just trying to play my game and not overthink it,” Jones said regarding his success on the ice.
Following this string of saves, the Avs appeared to score a second goal. After review by the officials, however, the goal was overturned because it was determined that Colorado right wingers Mikko Rantanen kicked the puck past Jones.
Then, nearing the end of the period, centerman Gustav Nyquist scored his first goal of the playoffs for the Sharks, tying the game at 1-1.
The Sharks started the second with more intensity, however, that led to some quick penalties. Within the first three minutes, Sharks forward Dylan Gambrell was called for tripping.
Capitalizing on this opportunity, Colin Wilson scored on the power play for the Avalanche, given them 2-1 advantage.
A minute later, Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon was hit with a four-minute double-minor penalty for high-sticking.
However, just like in the first, the Sharks improved their defense after the periods first goal, successfully killing the long penalty.
A minute after the killed penalty, the Sharks exploded on offense, with the first goal coming from ‘Jumbo’ Joe Thornton at the 10-minute mark to bring the score 2-2.
Later, Kevin Labanc took the lead for the Sharks with a wrist shot from the top of the circle, making it 3-2.
With the period coming to a close, the Sharks defenseman Brent Burns scored, making it a two-goal game in favor of the Sharks as they led 4-2.
In the third, the Sharks maintained their momentum defensively.
Colorado attempted to generate offence but was subsequently unable to get anything past Jones for the duration of the period.
“Martin has been huge. We will go as far as he takes us,” Thornton said.
With two minutes left in the game, Colorado pulled their goalie in an attempt to come back from their 2 goal deficit. That plan backfired when Sharks right wing forward Timo Meier scored an empty net goal making it a 3 goal game with 30 seconds left to play.
The Sharks won the first game of the series 5-2. With the series tied and moving to Colorado for Games 3 and 4 the Sharks’ next home game will not be until Saturday.