The San Jose Sharks weathered the Colorado Avalanche with critical momentum shifts, dominant goaltending and an electrifying home atmosphere to secure a Round 2 victory.
After the miraculous first-round comeback over the Vegas Golden Knights, the San Jose Sharks’ journey to the Stanley Cup rose to new heights against the Colorado Avalanche.
Following a stunning 1st Round performance topping the Calgary Flames. Nathan Mackinnon and the Avalanche posed as a dangerously tall task, pouring a mountain of pressure with their troubling top-line threat.
But the Sharks were up for the challenge, using the buzzing energy from SAP Center and explosive, timely performances to knock out the Avalanche in seven games in the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Game 1: Sharks 5, Avalanche 2 @ SAP Center
Without their captain Joe Pavelski who suffered a serious head injury and a concussion in Game 7 of the first round series, San Jose’s depth needed to step up. So right on cue, the Sharks third line delivered exactly that in Game 1.
After Colorado’s Colin Wilson struck on the power-play to take a 2-1 lead early into the second period, the Sharks cranked up the offense led by Joe Thornton.
A blocked shot by Marcus Sorensen quickly turned into a 2-on-1 surge. Sorensen head-faked a pass to Joe Thornton, who perfectly placed the puck five-hole through Philipp Grubauer to knot the game up at two.
Moments later, Kevin Labanc put on a sensational display that all wingers dream of. No. 62 laced the puck through Mikko Rantanen’s legs and sniped the top right corner with a beautiful finish to give the Sharks their first lead of the night, 3-2.
The Sharks never looked back, and their third line combined for two goals, three assists and a +8 plus/minus.
Martin Jones made 26 saves on 28 shots on goal, putting the cherry on top to San Jose’s Game 1 victory by a 5-2 margin.
Game 2: Avalanche 4, Sharks 3 @ SAP Center
Like Vegas in the first round, the Colorado Avalanche bounced back with a resounding performance in Game 2.
Tyson Barrie was the critical component that ignited Colorado’s offense into full fight, tallying a goal and two assists from the blue line.
The Sharks mounted a late push with two goals by Brent Burns, including this incredible release and redirection.
However, the Avalanche’s defense blocked the final shot of the game to secure a 4-3 victory and head back to the Mile High City with a series split.
Game 3: Sharks 4, Avalanche 2 @ Pepsi Center
Logan Couture has been the best playoff performer for the Sharks
He proved that in Game 7 of the first round, sparking the Shark’s comeback with two power-play snipes in the four-goal third period.
In the second round, it was Game 3 where No. 39 turned in his most impressive playoff performance, securing a hat trick during the late stages of a contest of posts and rough air.
Couture kicked off the scoring, taking a bow after back-handing a loose rebound into the white webbing to break the ice.
Timo Meier forced a turnover in the neutral zone, swiftly knifed through the Avalanche defense and whistled home a bar-down beauty give the Sharks a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
Riding the heavy altitude, the Avalanche surged back with the uncanny moves of Nathan Mackinnon and the net-crashing equalizer from Long Beach native Matt Nieto late in the third period.
After all the sounds off iron all night, Couture released a wicked shot from an obscure angle into the back of the net, and the Sharks regained the lead with seven minutes to go in regulation.
The Sharks locked down on defense in front of Martin Jones’ 25-save performance. After the Avalanche pulled their goalie for an extra attacker, Couture sealed the deal with the empty-netter to finish off his first NHL playoff hat trick.
Game 4: Avalanche 3, Sharks 0 @ Pepsi Center
It was the second time the Sharks were left with a zero on the scoresheet in 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the performance of Peter DeBoer’s team did not completely reflect the score in Game 4.
The Sharks and Avalanche were neck-and-neck on the shot clock, with the home team narrowly outshooting Team Teal 32-28.
Both teams matched hit for hit into the boards with nothing coming across the scoreboard after one. At the end, San Jose and Colorado combined for 58 hits with Evander Kane and Gabriel Landeskog leading their respective teams with the physically aggressive edge.
Near the midway mark of the middle frame, Nathan Mackinnon batted the puck into the net after a wild scramble.
Rantanen’s power-play precision and Erik Johnson’s dagger into the open goal delivered the final blows to make the series a best of three.
Game 5: Sharks 2, Avalanche 1 @ SAP Center
Game 5 was a nail-biter with the terrific netminding of Martin Jones, who completed the night with a .955 save percentage, including this close chance by Colorado’s Tyson Jost.
Jost would score the game’s opening goal, but repping the rally towels at the Tank, Tomas Hertl was the Game 5 hero once again with two electrifying strikes.
Hertl did not promise a Game 7 this time around, but he gave the Sharks the all-important 3-2 series lead with the pair of powerful punches, and the momentum tilted back into San Jose’s favor.
Oh, and who could forget the surprise appearance by Joe Pavelski, rallying the Sharks fans to stand up together and defend the Avalanche’s wrath to the finish line?
Game 6: Avalanche 4, Sharks 3 @ Pepsi Center
In a high-intensity overtime thriller, the Sharks appeared to have the legs to pull off the upset in Game 6 with an unlikely weapon.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who is known for his stay-at-home defensive style of play, scored not one, but two goals, including the game-tying goal with two minutes and 28 seconds remaining in the third period.
Sixty minutes was not enough to determine a Game 6 winner so the Sharks and Avalanche headed to overtime for the first time in the series.
As both teams entered the extra frame with 2-0 playoff OT records, the Avalanche were on the brink of elimination and looked no further to their captain.
A shot from Hobey Baker Award winner Cale Makar trickled right to Gabriel Landeskog who tucked in the overtime winner, sending the series back to San Jose for Game 7.
Game 7: Sharks 3, Avalanche 2 @ SAP Center
Once again the Sharks were in for another Game 7 heart-pounding wild ride.
It never gets easy, but the Sharks were ready with the return of their captain Joe Pavelski to the lineup, and the noise got amplified to an extreme deafening magnitude.
Pavelski picked up right where he left off on the ice in the first period, tipping home a Brent Burns shot from the point to give San Jose an early 1-0 lead.
Pavelski was not done. He dished out a perfect centering feed to a wide-open Tomas Hertl, who buried a wrister over Grubauer’s shoulder, extending San Jose’s lead to 2-0.
In the dying seconds of the first period, Colorado got one back on a redirection from Rantanen, giving the visitors some life heading into the locker room.
Mackinnon and Wilson teamed up to tally the apparent equalizer, but an offside challenge by Sharks video coach Dan Darrow reversed the call on the ice and Sharks held on to the 2-1 lead.
In a rapid-fire transition, Joonas Donskoi snapped his 32-game goal drought with a laser on the near side after swerving off a defender for a two-goal cushion.
The Avalanche mounted a furious comeback, but Jones made a collection of sparkling saves, denying Alexander Kerfoot at the doorstep in the final sixty seconds.
When it was all said and done, Jones boasted a much-improved 2.29 GAA and a .916 save percentage. It was Jones’ dominant goaltending, accompanied by the uproarious sea of teal in the arena, that propelled the Sharks to the Western Conference Finals.
For the first time in franchise history, San Jose won multiple Game 7s in the same postseason. Now, the Sharks look to turn up the Tank even louder and stronger to silence the St. Louis Blues in an enticing rematch of the 2016 Western Conference Finals.