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An opening night to forget
Sharks embarrassed by Avalanche
10/1/09 - By Mike Lee -

The NHL must have had some pity for the San Jose Sharks. After their post season melt down last spring, the league threw the Sharks a softball on opening night, by pegging them against the Western Conference’s worst team from a year ago. There was plenty more to pity after the Avalanche throttled San Jose 5-2 at the Pepsi Center to open the 2009-10 season. Reminiscent of their first round playoff exit against the Anaheim Ducks, San Jose played a disjointed style that quickly had them playing catch up.

Undergoing their own overhaul, the lively Colorado roster wasted little time getting on the board. Darcy Tucker redirected a John-Michael Liles shot while parked in front of the San Jose net 2:03 into the game. Rookie defenseman Jason Demers was is in the process of cross checking Tucker to the ice, but the Avalanche forward was able to get a stick on the puck, deflecting it past Evgeni Nabokov.

Patrick Marleau would get the goal right back almost four minutes later after Ryane Clowe picked defeseman Kyle Cumiskey’s pocket in the Avalanche zone. Clowe’s strong forecheck extracted the goal near the left wing boards, kicking it across the ice. Joe Pavelski scooped up the puck and found Marleau cutting through the middle for the wrister past Colorado goaltender Craig Anderson.

Colorado would retake the lead at 9:05, after a risky defensive move by Devin Setoguchi ended up in the San Jose net. With a puck floating in the air near the San Jose crease, Setoguchi tried swatting the puck away with his glove, but ended up putting it right on Wojtek Wolski’s stick. The Avalanche forward was parked on the right post, and simply had to sweep the puck past Nabokov.

Scot Nichol, one of the Sharks off-season acquisitions, let his presence be known late in the period, when he laid out Tucker with a check in the slot. San Jose was killing a Jamie McGinn hooking penalty and Nichol’s it freed up the puck for a clearing attempt.

Rob Blake drew a double-minor for high sticking right before the end of the period, carrying over the 4 minute infraction into the 2nd period. Colorado rookie Matt Duchene almost converted on a breakaway chance in the opening minute of the period, but Nabokov poked the puck away with his stick.

The Sharks would kill the penalty off, but Colorado strung together a rush at 5:12 that ended with another Avalanche goal. Chris Stewart carried the puck up the riht side and put a big shot on goal, bouncing the puck off Nabokov. Winger Cody McLeod was trailing on the play and easily dumped the rebound into the open net.

Marleau would cut the Avalanche lead to 3-2 at 8:26, after Adam Fotte was sent off for holding. Marleau gathered a deflection in front of the net and lifted the puck over Anderson for the power play tally.

At that point San Jose ’s defense decided to take the rest of the period off.

Wolski would bag his second goal of the game 1:22 after Marleau’s goal with a redirect from the right post. With no defender in sight, Paul Stastney sent a diagonal pass through the slot to the wide open Wolski.

Jody Shelley would try to incite a little emotion in his teammates at 10:25, but he took a roughing penalty for good measure. He would also take a beating at the hands of David Ko ci.

Liles would convert on the power play with a blast from the right point that weaved through traffic and was partially deflected by a Sharks defender.

A hooking penalty to Marek Svatos early in the 3rd period gave the Sharks an opportunity to bite into the Avalanche lead, but a shot by Pavelski would ring off the post, spoiling the chance.

Penalties to Wolski and Scott Hannan midway through the period gave the Sharks a full 2-minute 5-on-3 power play, but the Sharks failed to convert. Dany Heatley whiffed on a golden opportunity as a pass to him on the right post slipped under his stick.

Game Notes:

The Avalanche delayed the start of the game for an hour in order to honor Joe Sakic, who retired during the off-season. The Avalanche retired Sakic’s number 19, hoisting his jersey to the rafters, joining Patrick Roy and Ray Bourque. San Jose officially trimmed their roster to the league limit by sending Derek Joslin, Frazer McLaren and Mike Moore to Worcester .


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1 2 3 T
SJ 1 1 0 2
COL 2 3 0 5
1st period - 1, COL , Tucker 1 (Liles, Galiard), 2:03. 2, SJ, Marleau 1 (Pavelski, Clowe), 5:47. 3, COL , Wolski 1 (Hejduk, Stastney), 9:05.
2nd period - 4, COL , McLeod 1 (Stewart, O'Reilly), 5:12. 5, SJ, Marleau 2 (Pavelski, Boyle), 8:26, (pp). 6, COL , Wolski 2 (Stastney, Quincey), 9:48. 7, COL , Liles 1 (Clark, Duchene), 12:17, (pp).
3rd period - None.
1st period - Tucker, COL (hooking), 11:53; McGinn, SJ (hooking), 14:20; Blake, SJ (high sticking - double minor), 19:56.
2nd period - Foote, COL (holding), 7:49; Shelley, SJ (fighting major), 10:25; Shelley, SJ (boarding), 10:25; Koci, COL (fighting major), 10:25; Hannan, COL (holding), 16:24.
3rd period - Svatos , COL (hooking), 2:57; Wolski , COL (cross checking), 11:32; Hannan, COL (hooking), 11:32.
Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 20 15
COL - Anderson 40 38
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 12 9 19 40
COL 7 12 1 20
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 6
COL 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Wojtek Wolski
Paul Stastney
Scott Hannan
Referees: Peel, Pochmara. Linesmen: McElman, Racicot.

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