SHARKS at AVALANCHE
(Best-of-seven series tied, 1-1)
All that stood between San Jose and an 0-2 deficit in the first round for the second consecutive Stanley Cup Playoffs was 31.3 seconds. Fortunately for the Sharks, that was exactly when Joe Pavelski
converted a Dany Heatley rebound with the goalie pulled and the third-period clock ticking down. Devin Setoguchi's power-play goal in overtime lifted them to a 6-5 win over the Avalanche in Friday's Game 2 and we're squared at one heading into Colorado.
Now the question is, have the Sharks learned their lesson and will they take advantage of their reprieve? Or will the upstart Avalanche take control of this series in the Mile-High City.
While some unflattering labels have been thrown San Jose's way in postseasons past, the Sharks were nothing if not resilient on Friday. They fell behind by a goal on five separate occasions and came back each time. They scored in the final minute of the first, second and third periods. Even goalie Evgeni Nabokov -- who was touched up for three goals on just four shots in the second -- stopped 11 of the last 12 shots he faced, giving Pavelski a chance to tie the game and Setoguchi the opportunity to win it.
"We had to overcome a lot," Pavelski said. "It's a strong group in here. It's important that we stay with it."
From the time Kyle Cumiskey
was credited with a fluke goal 70 seconds into Game 2, Colorado had San Jose on the run. While the Sharks struck late in periods, the Avalanche got on the board early. They also scored 24 seconds into the second and 5:34 into the third. For the most part, though, it was their goalie that was facing the rubber. Despite allowing six goals, Craig Anderson gave his team a chance to win by making 46 saves.
"They had a lot of shots and had a lot of traffic. Lots of guys alone in front. The last one, was just a deflection of a point shot," Anderson told the Denver Post. "There's going to be swings throughout this series, and I think it's going to be a long series."
Chris Stewart, whose goal late in Game 1 lifted the Avalanche, followed up with two more on Friday. Rookies Brandon Yip
and Matt Duchene
each had two-point efforts. … Setoguchi and Pavelski combined for three goals, an assist and 15 shots as San Jose captured its must-win game.
Colorado forward Kevin Porter
suffered an upper-body injury in the second period Friday and coach Joe Sacco ruled him out for Game 3.
Heatley, Patrick Marleau
and Joe Thornton
, who combined for 103 goals during the regular season and form the Sharks' top line, have been held without a goal over the first two games.
Home-ice advantage in the playoffs ebbs and flows -- as quickly as the Avalanche stole it from the Sharks with their Game 1 stunner, they can give it back if they lose Sunday. They figure to get an emotional lift, though, from playing in front of what figures to be a frenzied crowd at the Pepsi Center.
"I think we're fine," said rookie Matt Duchene
, who assisted on three goals in San Jose. "It was tough to lose a game in that fashion. It's an even series and now we're back home and hopefully we can take advantage of it."