In the final game of their six-game home stand, the San Jose Sharks took the ice Sunday when they played host to the Colorado Avalanche. For the first time in six games, Evgeni Nabokov was in net for the Sharks, while Peter Budaj opposed him at the other end of the ice.
got the crowd into the game early when he flew past a Colorado defenseman and backhanded a puck to Steve Bernier. Bernier’s shot, however, was deflected off a stick and the Avs dodged a bullet.
Colorado wouldn’t get off the hook that easy though. Tom Preissing gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead seven minutes into the contest when he rifled a slapshot off Budaj’s chest pad that deflected up and over him, giving the blueliner his 10th goal of the season.
Less than two minutes later, the Avalanche tied the game at one. Pierre Turgeon stole a puck in the attacking zone and wristed the shot past Nabokov’s right shoulder.
With just under six minutes remaining in the opening frame, Scott Hannan regained the lead for the Sharks when he buried a slapshot from the exact location that Preissing had scored earlier in the period. The score was now 2-1 in favor of Team Teal.
The Sharks weren’t done scoring however, as just over a minute after Hannan’s tally, Jonathan Cheechoo continued his red-hot March when he fired a one timer after receiving a pass from Joe Thornton
putting the Sharks up 3-1.
Mark Smith was whistled for holding on the ensuing play, but the first power play of the game went to waste when the Avs couldn’t sneak one past the stingy Nabokov who made two big saves during the two-minute advantage.
With four seconds left in the period, Rob Blake was called for interference. The four seconds ticked off the clock and the Sharks skated off the ice enjoying their 3-1 lead.
When the Sharks came out for the second, they weren’t content with sitting on their 3-1 lead. Marleau notched his 30th goal of the season and the 400th point (only the second player in franchise history to accomplish this—Owen Nolan) of his career when he was fed a perfect pass from Milan Michalek. The score was now 4-1 Sharks.
Nine minutes into the second, Patrice Brisebois was sent to the sin bin for cross-checking Nils Ekman. The penalty expired, but not before the Sharks rattled off two quality scoring chances.
Right as Brisebois was released from the box, Milan Hejduk pulled the Avs back within two when he wristed a shot past Nabokov’s stick side.
Colorado would not stop there, however, as Ian Laperriere performed some nifty skating around the crease, using his long reach to slip one past the sprawled out Nabokov. The Sharks were now clinging to a 4-3 lead.
San Jose was sent back on the power play when Ekman was tripped by Karlis Skrastins. It would take just 27 seconds for the Sharks to take advantage of the power play when the Marleau line continued to shine. Bernier made an unbelievable pass to a streaking Marleau and the Captain buried his second goal of the night.
The Avs would answer back just over a minute later when Laperriere struck again. The right wing wristed a shot from the slot that traveled through traffic and sailed past Nabokov. Colorado was now back within one goal.
Marleau just missed on a backhander with 30 seconds left in the second and the Sharks would lead 5-4 after 40 minutes.
The Sharks began the third with an early power play as Rob Blake was forced to hook Michalek on a breakaway, but the bulk of the advantage was erased due to an Ekman interference call.
San Jose attempted to add to their lead when Antti Laaksonen was sent to the penalty box with 13 minutes left in the third, but despite keeping the puck constantly around Budaj, they couldn't add the insurance tally.
It would be the Avs who struck next, when a point shot by John-Michael Liles was redirected to tie the contest.
San Jose looked to make sure the game wouldn't be sent to overtime, as Alyn McCauley notched his first goal in ten games after corralling a rebound in front of the crease. The Sharks now led 6-5.
With 50 seconds left on the game clock, Budaj left the net in favor of an extra attacker. But it was too little too late for the Avs, and the Sharks skated off the ice with the 6-5 victory.
The Sharks will travel to St. Louis on Tuesday to take on the Blues in their first of five consecutive road games. The game is not televised, but can be heard on the Sharks Radio Network and sjsharks.com.