SAN JOSE, Calif.--The Colorado Avalanche didn't play its best game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Saturday night, but the club still had a chance to pull out a victory entering the third period.
In the end that didn't happen, and Colorado now faces a must-win Game 6 at home on Monday.
"It's disappointing because you knew someone at the end of the night was going to face elimination, right? [We've] been working all year to try and get to this point and keep moving on," said Avs head coach Jared Bednar. "It is disappointing, it should be. There should be a little bit of frustration because we know we didn't play as good as we can play. There should be some disappointment. We'll look at some things on video, and we'll turn the page and get ready to go. We got to go win Game 6."
Tomas Hertl scored twice for the San Jose Sharks to give them a 2-1 victory at SAP Center and a 3-2 series lead in the Western Conference Round 2 matchup.
"We know they are a good team, they are going to push back," said Avalanche forward and captain Gabriel Landeskog. "Once they got that lead, we couldn't find a way to get enough pressure toward their net. We had some looks, but there wasn't enough desperation in our O-zone play I felt like."
It seemed like one of those nights where the puck just wouldn't stay steady on the ice or on Colorado's sticks throughout the outing. San Jose did its part by employing a steady dose of pressure from the opening faceoff.
After losing 3-0 to the Avs in Game 4 on Thursday, the Sharks had a strong first period in their return home. San Jose outshot Colorado 39-22 in the contest, including by a 12-6 margin in the first 20 minutes.
On special teams, Colorado killed off 4-of-5 penalties but couldn't convert on its three power-play chances.
"They worked us, so they won the game," said Bednar. "I'm not going to overanalyze it. I thought we got outworked in the first period. We started to come, the power play kind of slowed us, their penalty kill kind of slowed us down a little bit. We had a couple kills there in the second, but we started to find our legs. I thought they were more competitive than us tonight."
The Avs scored first in the contest on a caromed goal from Tyson Jost with 2:59 left in the second period, but Hertl tied the outing with a power-play marker 20 seconds before the intermission. Hertl's game-winning tally came after he cleaned up a loose puck in the crease at the 6:26 mark of the third frame.
"As the series goes on, the games get harder and harder and they get more important," Jost said. "We just got to step up, we know that. It is a huge game for us. It's important, and everyone in this locker room wants it really bad. Obviously we wanted a better result today, but the great thing about playoffs is we have a chance to go and do it all again next game."
The Avalanche now looks to return to Northern California on Wednesday for a decisive Game 7.
"We would have liked to come home 3-2 obviously, but the reality of the matter is we are not," Landeskog said. "We just got to win a hockey game at home. Extend this thing, give us a chance to go to a Game 7. Game 7, anything can happen. We feel good about ourselves, we know what we can do with home ice."
GRUBAUER DOES HIS PART: Goaltender Philipp Grubauer made 37 saves, setting a new postseason career high.
Grubauer stopped the first 28 shots he faced before Hertl's man-advantage goal via a redirection with 20 seconds left in the third period.
"We didn't win, so it wasn't good enough," Grubauer said afterward. "Gave two up, I think two lucky ones. They pushed way harder than they did in our building."
The Avs netminder made 32 saves in a 3-0 victory in Game 4 on Thursday and had a shutout streak of 106:50 going prior to San Jose tying the game.
"Our best player was our goalie, no question about it," Bednar said.
JOST MAKES THE MOST: Tyson Jost opened the game's scoring with his first career playoff goal.
Jost was in the right place at the right time to give Colorado a 1-0 lead late in the second period. J.T. Compher's shot from the right circle was originally stopped by goalie Martin Jones, but the puck rebounded to Brent Burns, whose attempted clear instead deflected off Jost's leg and across the goal line.
It was Jost's second point of the postseason (one goal, one assist) and third of his Stanley Cup Playoff career (one goal, two assists).
The Avalanche forward played 10:34--his second most during the postseason--and won 3-of-4 faceoffs while on a line with Alexander Kerfoot and Colin Wilson.
CALVERT MISSES GAME: For the second time in three games, Matt Calvert was absent in the Avalanche's lineup.
Calvert took part in the team's morning skate but didn't suit up for the contest. He missed Game 3 with an upper-body injury.
Sven Andrighetto returned to Colorado's lineup after sitting out Thursday and played with Derick Brassard and Gabriel Bourque during even-strength action.
Head coach Jared Bednar also mixed up his middle-six forward combinations in Calvert's absence. He moved Tyson Jost onto a line with Kerfoot and Wilson, while J.T. Compher, Matt Nieto and Carl Soderberg made up another trio.
MORE POSTGAME NOTES: Nathan MacKinnon saw his eight-game point streak (six goals, seven assists) come to an end. His eight-game stretch was the longest of anyone in this year's playoffs and the longest by an Avalanche player in the postseason since Peter Forsberg (eight) in 2002.
Erik Johnson's five hits were a postseason career high.
Nikita Zadorov had six hits to bring his total for the playoffs to 50, which is the third most in the postseason.
Colorado killed 4-of-5 penalties and now has an 87.5-percent success rate on the penalty kill in Round 2, the third best among the eight teams in the second round.
The Avs' 22 blocked shots are their second most of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs (25, April 28 at San Jose).