The San Jose Sharks traveled to Colorado Tuesday to take on an Avalanche team seeking to exact revenge on the Sharks after they knocked them out of the 2003-04 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Colorado did just that, beating San Jose 5-2 behind a two goal effort from Alex Tanguay.
The Sharks sent Vesa Toskala to the net for the first time since he went down with an injury on Oct. 26 at Dallas. Opposing him in net for Colorado was David Aebischer.
It took less than two minutes for Colorado to light the lamp. Andrew Brunette played the puck behind the Sharks net and fed it to a streaking John-Michael Liles who buried the wide open goal, giving the Avalanche a 1-0 lead.
Just a minute later, Tanguay took a pass from Joe Sakic right in front of the net and opened up a two goal Colorado lead when he wristed a shot past Toskala. Patrick Marleau
tried to bring the Sharks back within one when he put a solid wrister on net, but the shot deflected off Aebischer. The puck remained in mid air when Jonathan Cheechoo batted it towards the net, but the netminder made another save on the attempt.
The Sharks went on their first power play of the night when Cheechoo was hooked from behind on a two-on-one. The Sharks put good pressure on Aebischer, but the Avalanche, boasting the fifth best penalty kill in the league, managed to stop the San Jose advantage.
Despite out-shooting Colorado 18-8, San Jose headed into the locker room after one trailing 2-0.
The Sharks came out of the locker room inspired to put some points on the board. Just one minute in, Alyn McCauley nearly did just that when he put a shot that rang off the left goal post.
At 17:22, Tom Preissing finally put the Sharks on the board after posting 22 shots thus far in the game. Preissing took a loose puck that had bounced out to the point and fired a slap shot on goal. Aebischer was off balance from a blitz of shots, and the netminder left the net wide open for Preissing. The Sharks cut the defecit in half, 2-1.
Colorado answered back four minutes later when Marek Svatos took a puck that was bouncing on the ice, waited for it to settle down, and slapped one past Toskala on Colorado’s first shot of the second period. The Avalanche were back ahead 3-1.
San Jose would be the next to light the lamp when Brad Stuart fired a slapshot from the point that hit off a couple bodies and deflected right to Cheechoo who buried the puck in the wide open net. The Sharks crawled back within one goal with just under five minutes left in the second.
Although they were being out-shot 29-15 at the end of the third period, Colorado still held a 3-2 lead going into final stanza.
San Jose went on the power play less than three minutes into the third when Karlis Skrastins went into the box for holding. The Sharks had a great opportunity when Marleau fired a shot from the point with traffic in front, but Aebischer made the stop. That would be their best chance, as they failed to generate any real scoring chances the rest of the power play.
Wayne Primeau was whistled for interference in the Colorado zone, giving the Avalanche only its second power play of the game. A minute later, Rob Davison was called for tripping and the Avalanche went on the five-on-three. Colorado didn’t waste any time as Pierre Turgeon took a pass from Svatos and scored his 500th NHL goal, and more importantly, put Colorado up 4-2.
The Sharks kept digging themselves in a hole when Sturm was called for holding at the 7:48 mark. Colorado would capitalize when Tanguay skated in on Toskala on a partial breakaway and fired the puck through the five-hole, giving Colorado a commanding 5-2 lead.
San Jose would gain a man advantage, but stayed on the perimeter for most of the power play. With the unsuccessful power play, the Sharks dropped to 0-for-5 in the game.
The Sharks and Avalanche exchanged penalties late in the game, but neither would amount to any goals, and the game finished 5-2.
The Sharks next game is on Saturday, Nov. 12 when they take on division rivals Dallas Stars at HP Pavilion at San Jose at 7:30 p.m. In their last meeting, the Sharks came from behind to defeat the Stars 5-4 in overtime, igniting their five-game win streak. The game will be televised on FSN-HD and broadcast through the Sharks radio affiliates and on sjsharks.com.