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Game Five Notebook

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
After four one-goal games and three separate overtime sessions, Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals between the Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks bared little resemblance to the previous contests in the series.

A stretch of 7:05 in the second period was the difference, as the Sharks scored three goals en route to an eventual 5-0 win at HP Pavilion and a 3-2 series lead. Colorado will try to extend the series Saturday at Pepsi Center. Puck drop for the must-win contest is set for 8:00 p.m.

Early To The Box
The Avalanche again took an early penalty tonight when Kyle Quincey earned two minutes for hooking Torrey Mitchell just 42 seconds into the game. Playing short-handed early has become commonplace for Colorado in the Western Conference Quarterfinals, as the Avalanche has been called for an infraction within the first few minutes of each game.

In Game One of the series, several Avs players actually credited an early penalty kill for helping to settle the young club down and get them into the game right off the bat. In that contest, Chris Stewart earned a hooking minor just 28 seconds in, which the Avs killed off on their way to a 2-1 win in San Jose.

The “latest early penalty” the Avalanche has taken was in Game Two, when Kyle Cumiskey was whistled for holding at the 7:07 mark of the opening frame.

In Game Three, Darcy Tucker took an elbowing penalty 3:59 into the first period, while Paul Stastny was given a penalty for high-sticking Joe Thornton during the opening faceoff of Game Four. Stastny’s penalty, which actually went down on the score sheet as occurring at 35 seconds by the time the Avs touched the puck, was the only one of those early infractions that actually hurt Colorado.

Following Stastny’s penalty, Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle netted a power-play tally at the 1:12 mark during San Jose’s eventual 2-1 victory.

Tempers Flare
Through the first four games, the Avs and Sharks have experienced the type of pushing, shoving and chirping between whistles that is typical of playoff hockey. But things appeared as though they might reach a boiling point late in the second period.

It all started when resident Avalanche agitator Cody McLeod put a clean, hard hit on Douglas Murray behind the San Jose net. Seconds later the puck squirmed out to the side of Evgeni Nabokov’s goal crease, where the netminder covered it.  McLeod kept after Murray, bumping him and causing him to fall on Nabokov after the whistle. From there, things escalated between all 10 skaters on the ice. As McLeod was being taken aside by one official, Sharks forward Jamie McGinn dropped his gloves and threw a few punches at Avalanche rookie Matt Duchene. Veteran blueliner Scott Hannan moved in on McGinn, but the officials stepped in before things could go further.

Somehow, the play resulted in Hannan receiving a four-minute double minor for roughing, while McGinn was only charged with a two-minute roughing minor despite throwing the punches.

The chippy nature of the game continued into the third period, as McLeod was assessed a five-minute major for charging following a hit on McGinn. Sharks forward Patrick Marleau netted his first goal of the playoffs during the ensuing power play to round out the night’s scoring.

Joe Pavelski’s second period goal gave San Jose a 2-0 lead, marking the first time in the series either team had led by more than one goal…Peter Budaj saw his first action of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs when he replaced starting netminder Craig Anderson with 8:56 remaining in the contest…The Sharks held a 37-28 shot advantage, but the Avs also blocked 18 shots compared to eight for San Jose…The Avalanche now owns a 16-9 all-time record in Game Five of a best-of-seven series since moving to Denver.
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