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Little upside in white washing
Avs roll with 4 3rd period goals
10/7/07 - by Mike Lee

Last December, an 8-0 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes inspired a players-only team meeting that helped turn around the Sharks season. Just three games into the current season, San Jose may want to think about something similar. The Sharks didn't lose by 8 on Sunday, but a 6-2 drubbing by the Colorado Avalanche was as close to a tar & feathering as the Sharks have had to endure since the Joe Thornton era began.

The Sharks got off to an auspicious start by failing to capitalize on a 4-minute minor to Milan Hejduk for high sticking Milan Michalek, then digging a penalty filled hole for themselves. Joe Pavelski started the Sharks penalty parade by slashing Hejduk himself 7 minutes into the contest. San Jose evaded any damage on the Pavelski penalty-kill, but then set the table for Colorado with simultaneous penalties to Jeremy Roenick for interference and Marc-Edouard Vlasic for hooking at 14:55 of the period.

Avalanche captain Joe Sakic made the Sharks pay for the penalties by pumping in his 1st goal of the season just 23 seconds into the ensuing 5-on-3. Sakic sent a pass to Paul Stastny outside the right post, then skated in and one-timed a shot past Evgeni Nabokov on the return feed from the 2nd year forward.

San Jose would kill the remaining time on Vlasic's penalty, but Joe Thornton would get called for holding less than a minute later in the offensive zone.

Colorado would cash in just 14 seconds into the penalty when Sakic won the ensuing faceoff, drawing it to Stastny, who fed Milan Hejduk up the right wing boards. Hejduk skated past Sharks defenseman Doug Murray, then snapped a shot past Nabokov for the 2-0 lead.

The sleepwalking appeared to carry over into the 2nd period when the Sharks were called for too many men on the ice, but a penalty kill prevented a third straight Avalanche goal.

The tempo picked up for San Jose after the kill with a spirited sequence on a scoring chance by rookie forward Torrey Mitchell. Avalanche goaltender Petr Budaj poked at a centering pass from Michalek, but failed to control the puck. Mitchell crashed the net, keeping the play alive and generating a scoring chance.

That energy translated into some life on the next line, which converted on another bang-bang sequence in front of Budaj. Ryane Clowe banged in his 1st of the goal from the slot after Joe Pavelski put a shot on net from the right point. Budaj gave up a big rebound that Clowe pounced on and deposited into the Avalanche net to cut Colorado's lead in half.

The new found energy would be short lived.

Stastny pushed the Avalanche lead back to two goals with his 1st goal of the season just 52 seconds into the 3rd period. Hejduk setup the goal by carrying the puck deep into the Sharks zone before sliding a centering pass into the slot from behind the Sharks net. Three Sharks defenders were guilty of watching Hejduk, while Stastny slid into the slot undetected.

Hejduk would add his 2nd of the game just under two minutes later after Nabokov failed to control a Ryane Smyth shot on an Avalanche fast break. Hejduk crashed the net and poked at the loose puck for the 4-1 lead.

Murray tried to generate a spark by squaring of against Ian Lapperriere , but the hug fest did little to inspire anything more than offsetting fighting majors.

The Avalanche made it a laugher with a pair of goals just 18 seconds apart. Marek Svatos redirected a Jeff Finger blast from the right point after Patrick Rissmiller sent a lazy pass through the slot that Tyler Arnasson intercepted. The turnover turned into another Colorado goal.

Smyth poked home a loose puck on the ensuing faceoff to make it 6-1, after Stastny chipped a shot off the end boards that bounced back into the area outside the goal crease. The assist was Stastny's 4th of the game, giving a career high 5 points for the game.

Sharks head coach Ron Wilson yanked Nabokov in favor of Dmitri Patzold, but like Murray's fight, it was a move that came 10 minutes too late.

Clowe added a meaningless goal with two minutes remaining in regulation. Steve Bernier sent a pass toward the slot from the right wing boards, allowing Clowe to redirect it past Budaj.

Game Notes:

Former Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan played against his old team for the first time since signing a 4-year contract with the Avalanche.

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1 2 3 T
SJ 0 1 1 2
COL 2 0 4 6
1st period - 1, COL, Sakic 1 (Stastny, Lilies), 15:18, (pp). 2, COL, Hejduk 1 (Sakic, Stastny), 17:53, (pp).
2nd period - 3, SJ, Clowe 1 (Pavelski, Ehrhoff), 7:47.
3rd period - 4, COL, Stastny 4 (Hejduk, Leopold), 0:51. 5, COL, Hejduk 2 (Smyth, Stastny), 2:47. 6, COL, Svatos 1 (Finger, Arnason), 7:48. 7, COL, Smyth 1 (Stastny), 8:06. 8, SJ, Clowe 2 (Bernier, Carle), 17:53, (pp).
1st period - Hejduk, COL (high sticking - double minor), 1:12; Pavelski, SJ (slashing), 7:12; Roenick, SJ (interference), 14:55; Vlasic, SJ (hooking), 14:55; Thornton, SJ (holding), 17:39.
2nd period - Vlasic, SJ (cross checking), 1:56; Lilies, COL (interference), 2:29; Team, SJ (too many men), 4:21; Leopold, COL (slashing), 11:14.
3rd period - Murray, SJ (fighting major), 4:08; Laperriere, COL (fighting major), 4:08; Smith, COL (high sticking), 9:03; Rivet, SJ (unsportsmanlike conduct), 13:48; Michalek, SJ (roughing), 13:48; Finger, COL (roughing), 13:48; Svatos, COL (hooking), 16:05.
Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 23 17
SJ - Patzold 2 2
COL - Budaj2624
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 7 12 7 26
COL 11 3 11 25
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 7
COL 1 of 6
3 Stars of the Game
Paul Stastny
Milan Hejduk
Joe Sakic
Referees: Steve Kozari, Kelly Sutherland Linesmen: Dan Schachte, Jay Sharrers

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