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Avs/Sharks Notebook

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
After what we saw Wednesday, who expected this?

Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals between the Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks was a tight, hard-hitting, defensive-minded affair with a total of three goals scored. And two of those tallies could be classified as either fortunate bounces or flat out fluky, depending on your viewpoint.

Game Two was a very different story.

First, the Avs got on the scoreboard while many fans were still at the concession stand buying popcorn, as Kyle Cumiskey lit the lamp at the 1:10 mark. After Cumiskey’s goal the ice tilted in San Jose’s favor, with the Sharks getting three consecutive power plays in the opening frame and totaling 11 shots before Manny Malhotra cleaned up a Dan Boyle attempt to even the game.

But the middle frame is where things got really interesting. Four goals were recorded in the first 7:10 – two for each side – as the contest opened up and both clubs began taking a few more chances. Each time the Avs scored, the Sharks took the momentum back, and vice versa. In the end, six goals were recorded in the period – a rarity in postseason hockey.

The third period was more of the same, with Colorado and San Jose both scoring twice. Overall, San Jose battled back from a one-goal deficit on five occasions during the contest. It became a case of déjà vu all over again, with the Sharks getting goals with 42, 15 and 32 seconds left in the first, second and third stanzas, respectively.

In the end, it was Devin Setoguchi who sealed the game with a tip-in goal 5:22 into overtime. And even though the loss has to sting, Colorado needs to be fairly content heading back to Denver for Games Three and Four with the series tied, 1-1.

Vintage Hejduk
Milan Hejduk has been a steady contributor throughout his 11 season in the Burgundy and Blue, but he added to his legend tonight by notching a goal and moving up the Colorado/Quebec franchise playoff scoring chart.

Hejduk tied former Quebec forward Michel Goulet for third all-time with 34 playoff goals on a tally 4:08 into the second period. In the process, Hejduk increased his postseason point total to 76 points (34g/42a) in 111 games. He now needs five points to tie Peter Stastny (81) for third on the franchise’s playoff points list.

Hejduk was originally credited with the Avalanche’s first goal 1:10 into the game, but it was taken away late in the contest and instead given to defenseman Kyle Cumiskey.

Filling In
The Avalanche played without Peter Mueller for the second consecutive postseason game and the sixth straight contest overall. The forward, who had been on a tear since being acquired from Phoenix at the trade deadline, was knocked out of action due to a concussion suffered during an April 4 game between the Avalanche and Sharks.

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Tonight, Brandon Yip did his best Mueller impersonation.

Mueller was Colorado’s leading scorer against the Sharks during the regular season, totaling five points (4g/1a) despite playing just two contests against San Jose. On Friday night, Yip occupied Mueller’s spot on the second line alongside Milan Hejduk and Matt Duchene and came up with perhaps the biggest performance of his young NHL career.

The rookie recorded an assist in the opening frame for his first playoff point and then netted a goal of his own in the middle frame, crashing the net and pounding home the puck with 2:30 remaining in the period.

Like Hejduk, he had a point taken away from his stat total. When the Avalanche’s first goal was originally credited to Hejduk, Yip was given the first assist on the play. It was later taken away, leaving Yip with a two-point night (1g/1a).

Do It Again
The hero of Wednesday night’s 2-1 win had another pretty good night in Game Two. The Avalanche won the series opener after Chris Stewart threw a puck from the right corner that bounced off Rob Blake’s skate and into the net for the game-winning goal with 49.3 seconds left in the third period.

The forward was at it again on Friday evening, scoring two goals in Colorado’s 6-5 overtime loss. The Avalanche has to be pleased to see Stewart putting the puck in the net once again. The team’s leading goal scorer with 28 in the regular season, Stewart went through a bit of a cold streak down the stretch, going without a goal over the final 10 regular season contests.

Now, in his first postseason series, the winger has three goals in two games.
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