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Avalanche cling to life with OT win
Series returns to SJ 3-1
4/28/04 - by Mike Lee

The Colorado Avalanche will live another day. Joe Sakic saw to that on Wednesday night, by converting on a Mike Rathje turnover in overtime to avoid the series sweep with a 1-0 win at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Sakic ended the goaltending clinic by snapping a shot past Evgeni Nabokov just 5:15 into overtime. Nabokov and his counterpart, Avalanche goaltender David Aebischer, combined to make 62 saves, but it only took one shot to decide the contest. Pushed to the brink, Colorado withstood a furious 1st period charge by the Sharks and held on to extend the series to a fifth game, which will be played in San Jose on Saturday.

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1 2 3 OT T
SJ 0 0 0 0 0
COL 0 0 0 1 1
1st period - NONE
2nd period - NONE
3rd period - NONE
Overtime - COL, J. SAKIC (5) (R. BOUGHNER), 05:15
1st period - S.J, A. KOROLYUK, 13:31 - Interference COL, J. SAKIC, 14:58 - Tripping S.J, S. HANNAN, 18:05 - Holding
2nd period - COL, K. SKRASTINS, 06:28 - Tripping S.J, V. DAMPHOUSSE, 09:44 - Cross check COL, C. GRATTON, 09:44 - Roughing S.J, J. CHEECHOO, 11:38 - Interference - Goaltender
3rd period - S.J, J. MARSHALL, 03:55 - Tripping S.J, A. KOROLYUK, 18:46 - Hi stick S.J, A. KOROLYUK, 18:46 - Hi stick
Overtime - NONE
  Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 36 35
COL - Aebischer 27 27
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
SJ 13 4 9 1 27
COL 10 9 11 6 36
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 2
COL 0 of 6
3 Stars of the Game
David Aebischer
Evgeni Nabokov
Joe Sakic
The Sharks have yet to lose on home ice in the post season this year, but they have to be kicking themselves for not taking care of business on Wednesday. The Sharks were intent on matching the intensity that Colorado head coach Tony Granato had guaranteed before Wednesday's game.

Both teams opened up the offense in the 1st period, resulting in a number of wild exchanges. Avalanche forward Dan Hinote and Sharks winger Alexander Korolyuk both had breakaways in the opening period, but both were rejected by the opposing goaltender.

San Jose out shot the Avalanche 13-10 in that opening period, but neither team could convert when they had the opportunity.

Colorado narrowly missed on another prime scoring chance in the 2nd period, when Mathew Barnaby rang a shot off the post, then had a rebound attempt stopped by Nabokov.

Both teams also played exceptionally well on the penalty kill. San Jose continued to shut down Colorado's potent power play unit, by killing off six Avalanche power plays. None was bigger than the gift they received toward the end of regulation.

Korolyuk gift wrapped a four minute double minor, when he inadvertently caught Teemu Selanne in the chops with his stick. The Avalanche looked well positioned to end the game right then and there, but they failed to generate any good scoring chances on the ensuing power play. Since the penalty came at the end of the period, they only had 1:14 to try an convert before the end of the period.

When the two teams returned to the ice to start the overtime period, Colorado continued to sputter on the man-advantage.

They finally caught a break when Rathed tried to clear the puck out of his own zone by flipping it down the center of the rink, but he lost the handle on it and allowed it to flutter to Sakic in the slot.

The Avalanche captain wasted no time in converting the mistake into the game winning goal with a shot from 15 feet out.

"We didn't stop believing. It's a great confidence boost and shows how easy the series can turn around when you use the momentum. It's a new ballgame." - Teemu Selanne

"We're in a do-or-die situation. We had to get the first win and haven't had momentum on our side of the court yet, so we'll see what happens." - Adam Foote

"We still are in control of the series. We'll go home and hope to keep the same mind-set." - Wayne Primeau

"The game could have gone either way. The goalies played exceptionally well. I thought we had as many chances as they did. They got the bounce at the end. That's the way overtime goes." - Todd Harvey

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