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Setoguchi's bookend goals lead Sharks
Greiss stops 42 shots in 4-3 win over Colorado
3/28/10 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks capped their short three-game home stand with a nail biting 4-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night. The Sharks were without the services of centerman Joe Thornton, who was scratched after suffering an apparent knee injury less than 24 hours earlier in the Sharks victory over Vancouver . San Jose outlasted the Avalanche, who are fighting to hold on to the 8th spot in the Western Conference. San Jose also gave defenseman Rob Blake and goaltender Evgeni Nabokov the night off to rest up for the upcoming second season.

With three of their biggest guns out of the lineup, the Sharks were faced with a formidable test, especially given Colorado ’s urgency to fend off the 9th place Calgary Flames who won on Sunday and pulled to within four points of the last playoff seed in the Western Conference.

“Any team is going to miss one of their best players, but collectively we weren’t at our best tonight but we found a way to get it done with out him (Thornton) and that’s important for our confidence,” said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan.

Colorado ’s 4-5-1 record in the last ten games wasn’t exactly intimidating, but the Sharks have the same record over that span. The only difference is the Sharks four wins have all come in their last four games.

“I thought we played hard tonight," said Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco. "We came out and tried to work our game plan as far as keeping the puck down low, playing goal line to goal line.”

Sunday night’s affair saw the Sharks grab an early on the power play, even though it was missing their top setup man in Thornton .

A Kyle Quincey slashing penalty midway though the opening period put the Sharks on the power play. The Sharks would capitalize on Devin Setoguchi’s 18th goal of the season. Setoguchi parked himself in front of the net and deflected a Dan Boyle blast from the left point through Avalanche goaltender Craig Anderson’s pads for the 1-0 lead.

"Everyone had to step up," said Setoguchi. "Joe's played every game since he's been here. Obvioulsy it's a change that we had to adjust to. We have a pretty deep team up front with our forwards and we were able to get some offense even with him out of the lineup. Hopefully he won't be out too long and he'll be back soon."

Thomas Greiss got a rare start in net, but he made the most of his chance. Greiss made the most of his start at the end of the period when he stoned Adam Foote and Matt Duchene with chances from point blank range.

The Avalanche used a gaggle of bodies in front of the net to knot things up early in the 2nd period. Kevin Porter converted just his 2nd goal of the season on a backhand play from the top of the crease after Greiss was blocked by a pair of bodies in front of his net. Cody McLeod sent a centering pass out if front of the Sharks netminder, and Porter came up with the puck after it deflected away from Greiss.

The Sharks got themselves into a pickle midway through the period when Jamie McGinn took an ill-advised tripping penalty at 10:15. Jed Ortmeyer would take a high sticking penalty just under a minute later. The Avalanche would enjoy over a minute of 5-on-3 time, but they wouldn’t convert until McGinn’s penalty expired.

Peter Mueller would convert at 12:42 on a blast from the left dot after Matt Duchene bounced a pass off a Sharks defender in the slot.

The Sharks would get a big goal right before the 2nd intermission to tie the game back up at 2-2. Jed Ortmeyer carried the puck up the left wing before firing a shot on net from the bottom of the left circle. Anderson stopped the shot, but it kicked out in front of him right as Logan Couture crashed in on net. Avalanche winger TJ Galiardi deflected it back into the Colorado goal.

The play was reviewed to see if Couture kicked the puck into the net, but none of the five replay angles was conclusive. Ortmeyer was awarded the goal for his 8th of the season.

San Jose would grab the lead 4:32 into the 3rd period when Dan Boyle threw the puck on net from the right side of the net. The puck squeezed between Anderson and the right post, tucking just inside the opposite post as Joe Pavelski swatted at it for good measure.

Mueller would knot the game up again four and a half minutes later. After a faceoff win in the Sharks zone, Kyle Cumisky pumped a shot that clanked off the left post. The puck deflected right to Mueller, who was driving on net from the left side. It wasn’t clear if the puck bounced off Mueller or if he got a stick on it, but that didn’t matter, because it counted and the Sharks were forced to back to work.

They would cash in with 5:49 to play when Pavelski stick-handled along the right wing boards back toward the blueline before changing directions and throwing a 50-foot shot on goal. The puck got past Anderson and would have sailed wide left, but Setoguchi was parked along side the left post and had the shot deflect off his leg and into the goal.

That goal was reviewed, but replays showed that Setoguchi did not kick the puck into the goal, so the tally stood.

“I don’t think you’re going to see a lot of pretty goals from this point on, I’m not just talking our with our hockey club," said McLellan. " I think that the teams that continue on and play into June there is going to be a lot of that ugly throw it to the net, off feet, off sticks, get a lucky break here and there and that’s how it’s going to happen.”

Even with the lead, the Sharks weren’t out of the woods quite yet. Colorado turned up the heat, especially after pulling Anderson for the extra attacker with a minute to play. Greiss capped the impressive 42-save performance with his two biggest saves with less than 15 seconds to play.

First Duchene put a shot from 8-feet out on net that Greiss stopped after the puck trickled through the crease, then John-Michael Liles followed up with a blast from the same distance seconds later. In both cases Greiss made himself as wide as possible, stoning the point-blank chances.

"Greiss made a big save," said Boyle. "That's kind of the turning point there. We worked hard, but we gave up a pass through the middle and Greiss comes up with a huge save."

The Avalanche must regoup as they fend off a struggling Flames squad.

“We came up a little short," said Sacco. " I think if we play like we did tonight down the stretch here, we’ll be fine. That’s how we have to play, with that desperation. It’s a word that’s over used this time of the year but it’s true. You could see our guys tonight for the most part were desperate, and we just have to keep battling.”

Game Notes:

Thornton ’s absence from the lineup meant his streak of 397 consecutive games in teal came to an end. Thornton had played in every game since being acquired from Boston on December 2nd, 2005. Manny Malhotra was in the lineup, even though he suffered a broken nose on the puck he absorbed with his face on Saturday night. He Sharks recalled Jason Demers to fill in for Blake on the blueline.


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Scoring
1 2 3 T
COL 0 2 1 3
SJ 1 1 2 4
1st period - 1, SJ, Setoguchi 18 (Boyle, Heatley), 10:51, (pp).
2nd period - 2, COL , Porter 2 (McLeod, Salei), 1:20. 3, COL , Mueller 10 (Duchene, Stewart), 12:42, (pp). 4, SJ, Ortmeyer 8 (Couture, Murray ), 18:37.
3rd period - 5, SJ, Boyle 15 (unassisted), 4:32. 6, COL , Mueller 11 (Cumisky, Hejduk), 9:03. 7, SJ, Setoguchi, 19 (Pavelski, Clowe), 14:11.
Penalties
1st period - Hendricks , COL (roughing), 6:19; Staubitz, SJ (roughing), 6:19; Staubitz, SJ (roughing), 6:19; Quincey, COL (slashing), 9:54.
2nd period - McGinn, SJ (interference), 10:15; Ortmeyer, SJ (high sticking), 11:11.
3rd period - None.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
COL - Anderson 32 28
SJ - Nabokov 45 42
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
COL 14 19 12 45
SJ 10 8 14 32
Power Play Conversion
COL 1 of 3
SJ 1 of 1
3 Stars of the Game
Devin Setoguchi
Dan Boyle
Peter Mueller
Attendence
17,562
Officials
Referees: Kowal, McCreary. Linesmen: Seitz, Sharrers.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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