Buzzer Beater- Matt Duchene’s wrist shot as time expired in overtime beat Antti Niemi, sending the Colorado Avs to a hard fought 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks Sunday night at The Pepsi Center in Denver. The Sharks suffered their second overtime loss of the weekend, but unlike Saturday where they gave away a point, Sunday night they managed to steal back a point in the Western Conference Standings. The Sharks got a late goal from Logan Couture with 3:25 remaining in the third period to tie the game and ultimately force the overtime period. Patrick Marleau scored his milestone 400th career goal with just 39 seconds left in the second period to bring the Sharks to within a goal at 2-1. The Sharks otherwise spent the early portions of the game seemingly spinning their wheels in the mud as they had a tough time getting on track. The Sharks did get a number of pucks on Colorado Avs’ goalie Semyon Varlamov and also had a number of power play opportunities. However again as has been the case for much of this shortened season, the Sharks for whatever reason just cannot get enough pucks in the net and it has proved to be extremely costly more often than not. As far as the power play was concerned, despite some good looks and scoring chances team teal still came away zero for five on the evening in this frustrating category.
More Struggles- The Sharks coming off of a tough loss just 24 hours earlier (factoring in the time change) came out of the gates rather sluggish. Meanwhile the Avs, fresh off of a trouncing of the Blackhawks Friday had a noticeable spring in their step and early on were a lot quicker to the pucks from the opening faceoff. The Sharks would soon find themselves in penalty trouble when Adam Burish would draw a interference infraction. The Sharks penalty kill which had been a strong suit all year simply did not get the job done this time around. An attempt to clear the puck by Justin Braun was intercepted before the blue line by Ryan O’Reily. From there O’Reily would begin a tic-tac-toe play that left the Sharks wondering what had just happened. O’Reily would feed the puck across ice to PA Parenteau, who in return got the rubber biscuit over to Gabriel Landeskog. With Niemi going over to his left to face Landeskog, the Avs Captain fed the puck to Duchene who had a wide open right side of the net and drilled the puck in with a wrist shot. This gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead that they would hold for the remainder of the period. Colorado was able to pelt Niemi with multiple pucks making it necessary for Niemi to make 14 saves. The Sharks would gain some scoring chances later in the period and dropped 10 shots on goal at Varlamov who was clearly on his game making the save each and every time.
Second Period Frustrations- The second period for the Sharks would also present its series of challenges as the Avs again attacked team teal early. Niemi would make one of his best saves of the night as he stuffed a breakaway attempt by Landeskog in the opening minutes of the period. The Sharks would get three power play opportunities in the middle frame and each time despite getting some solid shots on net were not able to score. Varlamov was clearly the best Avs penalty killer on the ice during all three team teal power plays. After the first Avalanche penalty kill, Colorado would gain control of the puck out of their own end of the ice when Aaron Palushaj won a battle with three Sharks and got a feed pass to John Mitchell. Taking possession just past the blue line, Mitchell skated up ice with the puck before launching a shot on Niemi which was deflected by Ryan O’Reilly into the net. The deflection was not hard hit as Niemi just missed the puck as it rolled into the goal at his left to put the Avs up by two.
Late in the period with the Sharks fighting for puck possession in the Avs defensive zone, Ryane Clowe was able to dig out the puck and get it over to Justin Braun. From there Braun launched a slap shot which hit Marleau’s stick and deflected past Varlamov into the net to get the Sharks to within one just before the end of the period. Marleau’s goal was also history making as he continued on his way to becoming one of the all time Sharks leading scorers.
Weathering Another Storm- The Sharks much like in the third period Saturday afternoon came out as flat as stale beer. The Avs were all over the Sharks zone early in the final regulation period and at one point had a 7-1 shots on goal advantage. However Niemi did his best in keeping the Sharks in the game with the number of saves. The Sharks would eventually turn the tide in their favor and slowly wrest the momentum away from Colorado. However two more power plays would fail with one being ended early thanks to a Sharks penalty. With 3:30 remaining and the Avs trying to clear a puck out of their zone Joe Thornton would be in the right place along the left boards to intercept the clearing attempt. Thornton would then immediately feed Couture who drilled a slap shot that beat Varlamov to his left to tie the game. The Sharks stayed the aggressor the rest of the period but could not manage to get the tie breaker as time ran out in regulation.
Overtime Woes Continue- The Sharks missed a chance at the game winning goal early in the overtime as Marleau despite falling down got a pass to Marc-Edouard Vlasic who’s shot went wide of the net. As the period went on it would be Niemi who would be the busiest goalie in the overtime. With seconds winding down to what seemed like a probable shootout period, the Avs got a last second shot on goal by Parenteau. Niemi made the save but failed to control the rebound. The rebound would go straight to Duchene who immediately drilled the puck over Niemi into the net. The goal was reviewed by the NHL war room, however the ruling would not go in the Sharks favor as the puck crossed the goal line with 0:00.4 seconds remaining. The Avs had the win and the Sharks had another long walk off the ice for the second time in 27 hours.
Shark Bytes- The three stars of the game were 3) Antti Niemi, 2) Semyon Varlamov and 1) Matt Duchene. The Sharks with their second straight overtime loss have a total of 28 points and are 7th in the Western Conference Standings. The Sharks through 24 games have won 11, and are technically an under .500 team at the halfway mark of the season. Anaheim won again 4-2 over the St Louis Blues, and have 39 points and are leading the Pacific Division in near run away fashion. Marleau’s goal was his 13th of the season, Couture’s was his 10th. Matt Irwin led the Sharks with 8 shots on goal, while Marleau and Couture had six each. Joe Thronton, Justin Braun and Ryane Clowe has assists for the Sharks. Colorado outshot the Sharks for the game 42-38. The Sharks are now 4-6 in overtime games this season.
Next Sharks Game- Tuesday Night the Sharks visit St Louis for the second time this season. The Sharks defeated the Blues 2-1 in St Louis on February 19th. The Blues earned payback with a 4-3 overtime win at the Shark Tank this past Saturday.
Be sure to follow all of your BoT staff on twitter!!!
The Jessica Redfield Ghawi Foundation:
Stand Up 2 Cancer:
So, So Much Hope
Sandy Hook Family Fund: