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SJ opens round 2 with a bang
Sharks win 5-2 on Marleau's hat trick
4/22/04 - by Mike Lee

You couldn't have scripted a better start for the Sharks and their 2nd round match up with the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night. San Jose struck early and often and when Colorado tried to answer, the Sharks scored some more. The result was a 5-2 white washing at HP Pavilion before a wildly enthusiastic sellout crowd. Sharks captain Patrick Marleau chipped in with his second hat trick of the playoffs to lead the Sharks to an early 1-0 lead in the Western Conference semi-final series with the Avalanche.

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1 2 3 T
COL 0 1 1 2
SJ 3 2 0 5
1st period - S.J, P. MARLEAU (4) (J. CHEECHOO, M. RATHJE), 10:52 S.J, V. DAMPHOUSSE (1) (N. DIMITRAKOS, B. STUART), 12:42 S.J, S. HANNAN (1) (N. EKMAN, A. KOROLYUK), 19:07
2nd period - COL, S. KONOWALCHUK (4) (A. NIKOLISHIN, J. SAKIC), 09:07 S.J, P. MARLEAU (5) (N. DIMITRAKOS), 11:39 S.J, P. MARLEAU (6) (V. DAMPHOUSSE, N. DIMITRAKOS), 13:13
3rd period - COL, P. FORSBERG (4) (J. SAKIC, A. FOOTE), 00:52
1st period - S.J, C. BROWN, 02:49 - Interference - Goaltender S.J, S. HANNAN, 06:52 - Cross check COL, D. HENDRICKSON, 17:16 - Holding stick
2nd period - COL, A. FOOTE, 00:23 - Interference S.J, P. MARLEAU, 07:42 - Interference COL, P. FORSBERG, 12:32 - Tripping COL, C. GRATTON, 16:39 - Roughing S.J, J. CHEECHOO, 19:02 - Tripping
3rd period - COL, C. GRATTON, 03:42 - Hi stick S.J, M. RATHJE, 08:38 - Holding COL, S. KONOWALCHUK, 09:40 - Boarding S.J, M. SMITH, 18:25 - Fighting (maj) S.J, C. BROWN, 18:25 - Misconduct (10 min) COL, M. BARNABY, 18:25 - Instigator COL, M. BARNABY, 18:25 - Fighting (maj) COL, M. BARNABY, 18:25 - Misconduct (10 min) COL, C. GRATTON, 18:25 - Cross check COL, C. GRATTON, 18:25 - Misconduct (10 min) COL, O. VAANANEN, 18:25 - Misconduct (10 min) COL, C. GRATTON, 18:25 - Fighting (maj) S.J, B. STUART, 18:25 - Fighting (maj) COL, T. SALO, 19:32 - Slashing COL, R. BOUGHNER, 19:59 - Roughing COL, R. BOUGHNER, 19:59 - Roughing COL, R. BOUGHNER, 19:59 - Roughing
  Shots Saves
COL - Aebischer 17 12
COL - Salo 7 7
SJ - Nabokov 28 26
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
COL 10 10 8 28
SJ 9 10 5 24
Power Play Conversion
COL 2 of 5
SJ 2 of 8
3 Stars of the Game
Patrick Marleau
Niko Dimitrakos
Evgeni Nabokov
The Sharks were firing on all cylinders, but the Avalanche looked ill prepared for a three goal outburst by the Sharks in the 1st period. Colorado actually had the early momentum after the Sharks were whistled by two borderline penalties early in the first six minutes of play. After weathering a Curtis Brown goaltender interference penalty and a Scott Hannan cross checking infraction, the Sharks went on the offensive.

Marleau would kick things off with his 4th goal of the playoffs midway through the period. Four Avalanche defenders allowed Marleau to slip into the slot uncontested while they all concentrated on Jonathan Cheechoo, who was stick-handling the puck behind the Colorado net. Cheechoo setup a Marleau one-timer with a pass from the end-boards that the Sharks captain ripped home from 15 feet out.

Vincent Damphousse would push the Sharks lead to 2-0 less than two minutes later, when he skated around Adam Foote on the left ring and snapped a wrist shot past David Aebischer.

The Sharks took advantage of a Darby Hendrickson penalty late in the period, scoring what would amount to the game-winner. Scott Hannan scored his first career playoff goal after the Sharks threw a flurry of shots on Aebischer from in tight. Nils Ekman and Alexander Korolyuk both had golden scoring chances, but they couldn't get the puck past the pile of bodies building in the crease. Hannan gathered a deflection in the slot and lifted a shot over a three players who were laid out in the crease.

Colorado would come after San Jose in the 2nd period, but Evgeni Nabokov thwarted several scorning chances. Nabokov would finally succumb to the Colorado pressure while the Sharks were down a man midway through the period.

Steve Konowalchuk cut into the Sharks lead with his 4th of the playoffs after Marleau was sent off for interference. Marleau would respond with the two quickest goals by a single Sharks player in playoff history minutes later.

Niko Dimitrakos got the ball rolling by blocking a shot at the Sharks blueline, then racing up the right wing after grabbing the rebound. Dimitrakos drew Karlis Skrastins over to the right post, before lifting a pass over Skrastins stick to Marleau who was trailing on the off post. Aebischer made the transition to the left post as the pass was being delivered from Dimitrakos, but Marleau compensated by slipping the puck back across the front of Aebischer. The puck caught the inside of the right post for the 4-1 Sharks lead.

Marleau would complete the hat-trick 1:34 later with a shot from the right dot that sailed over Aebisher's left shoulder, while Forsberg stewed in the penalty box for tripping Nils Ekman. Vincent Damphousse had fished a loose puck out of a scrum in the right corner before turning back up ice and hitting Marleau with a pass.

Forsberg would add a meaning less goal less than a minute into the 3rd period on the power play. Forsberg fought off two Shark defenders down low before slipping the puck through Nabokov's skates. The Sharks netminder was off balance as Forsberg skated in on net, and could only watch the puck trickle into the Sharks goal.

With the game clearly out of hand late in the period, things turned ugly. Things started when Todd Harvey hit Ossi Vaananen with a hard check deep in the Colorado zone. Several Avalanche players converged on Harvey as he tried skating back to his own bench. Three simultaneous fights broke out, including a tussle between Mark Smith and Matthew Barnaby that turned into the main event.

When the smoke cleared Chris Gratton, Curtis Brown, Brad Stuart, Smith, Vaananen and Barnaby would all get tossed.

After order was restored and play resumed, Bob Boughner sucker punch Cheechoo in the back of the head as the Sharks forward tried grabbing control of the puck behind the Colorado goal. Boughner would earn three minors for roughing and potentially a review by the league for the cheap shot.

Play of the Game
Marleau's second goal was a culmination of smart play and hustle by not only Marleau, but also by Dimitrakos who would finish with three assists in the evening. Dimitrakos created the opportunity by blocking the shot in the Sharks zone, then whipping up ice with the puck. Marleau capped a pretty sequence by adjusting his shot to accommodate Aebischer's move across the crease.

The Turning Point
The Sharks ability to kill off the first two penalties in the game then charge right back and score was a powerful message to the Avalanche. Not only could they not convert on the power play, but they couldn't contain the Sharks who owned Colorado if the puck got deep into the Avalanche zone.

Save of the Game
Nabokov owes his defense a for keeping the Avalanche out of his face for most of the evening. During one of the few times they did penetrate, the defense turned away what appeared to be a sure goal in the crease after Nabokov lost his skates from under him and allowing the puck to sit unattended in the crease for a good three to five seconds.

Box Scores Do No Justice
Shut down the Colorado power play and you may shut them out all together. The Avalanche only solved Nabokov with a man advantage. The Sharks goaltender didn't give up any big rebounds the entire night, and was able to make several glove saves from shots in tight.

Honorable Mention
Korolyuk only saw 14 minutes of ice-time on Thursday but he made the most of those minutes, especially on the defensive side of the puck. The Russian winger was also laying the body on several Avalanche players, including defenseman Rob Blake who had to take several shots from Korolyuk throughout the evening.

"You want to work hard, and if the points come, great. But the most important thing is the team's winning. We try to come out of the gate pretty hard and get our game going. We used our speed to our advantage, get that extra step out there." - Patrick Marleau

"We need him to do that. He's our leader, and he's stepping up in the playoffs. ... We showed tonight that we can play our team game against anybody. I think they'll come back with a much better game. I don't know if they were surprised by us or not." - Vincent Damphousse

"The good thing about the playoffs, it's just one game. You lose 1-0 or 5-2, it doesn't matter. You start 0-0 next game. ... They played better than us everywhere." - David Aebischer

"We weren't ready to match their intensity. They outplayed us. They won every matchup. They deserve everything they got. That wasn't our best effort." - Joe Sakic

Marleau's two 2nd period goals set a franchise record for fastest two goal by a single Sharks player in payoff history.

Alyn McCauley returned to the ice after missing the last four games with a shoulder injury.

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