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Sharks finally unload on Avalanche
Sharks pile on 5 unanswered goals in Game 5 win
4/22/10 - By Mike Lee -

Now that’s more like it. The Sharks finally bum rushed the Colorado Avalanche with the performance everyone has been waiting for. The top seeded Sharks played a near perfect game on Thursday night, rolling the Avalanche 5-0 in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semi-Final match-up at HP Pavilion. Logan Couture scored a pair of goals and Evgeni Nabokov made 28 saves to earn his 7th career playoff shutout.

Nabokov did most of his work in the 3rd period after his teammates had already put more pucks than was necessary past Colorado netminder Craig Anderson. The Sharks erupted for three goals in the middle period, then tacked on two more in the last 20 minutes to take a 3-2 series lead.

San Jose still has some work to do, but heading into Game 6 with the opportunity to close out the series is the position they want to be in. After getting blasted the last week for allowing Colorado to make the series so close, Thursday night’s win provides an opportunity to take a more tactical approach to the next game, rather than a panicked win-to-stay-alive tact.

“You have to invest in the series," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. "It comes off the loss in game one. As you go deeper and deeper, emotionally you have to be invested in it. And physically you have to be. Tonight we had some real good board work. We needed to be physical with the puck so we held onto the puck a lot tonight. We ended up wearing them down”

Colorado expected the Sharks to come out firing, but they may not have been prepared for the lopsided opening period. San Jose would outshoot Colorado 12-2 through the first 20 minutes, but Anderson managed to keep the game scoreless.

“I feel we got what we deserved tonight," said Colorado had coach Joe Sacco. "I don’t think we played well enough to win for 60 minutes.”

Marek Svatos was credited with one of Colorado ’s shots in the period, when he threw a puck on net 9 minutes in that clanked off the left post. That would be the only pressure Nabokov would feel in the period.

Joe Thornton was guilty of squeezing his stick too tight himself. The centerman was the recipient of a deflection in the right corner moments later, but he elected to shoot from a severe angle rather than driving the wide open lane to the goal.

The Sharks turned up the heat midway through the period, drawing a Brandon Yip cross checking penalty after a wild sequence behind the Colorado net. San Jose would fail to cash in, but the momentum was clearly in the Sharks favor.

Patrick Marleau missed cashing in later in the period on a cheapie when Anderson mishandled a shot that he juggled and dropped dangerously in the crease before former Shark defenseman Scott Hannan swept it away.

Colorado seemed content on playing the same style of game that allowed them to take Games 1 & 3, trying to wait out the Sharks and capitalize on their limited opportunities. That approach was about to fail miserably.

Anderson would hold off San Jose through the first 8 minutes of the 2nd period. Scott Nichol carried a partial breakaway up ice early on, but Anderson stuffed the Sharks forward. Devin Setoguchi carried the puck around the Avalanche defense three minutes later, jamming a chance in close, but once again Anderson was up to the task.

San Jose would finally find a crack in Anderson 's armor at 8:25. Couture scored his first career playoff goal by redirecting a Dany Heatley feed while parked at the top of the crease. Heatley sent in a bullet from the right wing boards, hitting Couture who had his back to the goal.

TJ Galiardi would take an ill advised holding the stick penalty in the offensive zone at 10:15 of the period, putting the Sharks back on the power play for the 3rd time.

Joe Pavelski would capitalize, pushing the Sharks lead to 2-0 with a shot from the blueline after Anderson tripped trying to track the puck on the right side. The goaltender tried diving across the crease to make the save, but he couldn’t prevent Pavelski from bagging his 3rd goal of the playoffs.

Setoguchi appeared to give San Jose a third goal on the ensuing faceoff, after he was tripped by Adam Foote on hi sway to the net. With the puck in tow, Setoguchi slid into the goal, but referee Steve Kozari immediately waved it off.

The grinders got in on the action at 15:30 when Dwight Helminen beat the Colorado defense to a deflection off the end boards and lifted a shot into a wide open net from outside the right post. Scott Nichol setup the goal by carrying the puck across the Colorado blueline. Seeing that Helminen had a step on two Colorado defenders, Nichol hesitated before sending the puck in wide of the net, allowing the rookie to take a perfect feed off the end boards.

"It was a great play by Scotty Nichol on the rush," said Heliminen. "We talked about getting pucks to the net. That one, he pulled up and I think he saw Anderson cheating out a little bit, so he thought he'd put one off the wall. It turned into a great play."

Colorado started to take out their frustrations with a minute left in the period when Douglas Murray was checked from behind into netminder Evgeni Nabokov. Tempers flared, but the Sharks came out of the melee with a power play.

"They were obviously trying to get some of their guys going or do something for the next game," Murray said of the scrum. "It's tough for the refs to know what's going on in those scrums. There's a lot of things happening in different places. I tried to stay cool. It's a three nothing game, but in today's hockey you see a lot of three-nothing leads dissapear in a hurry. Especially if you give up the power play. It's playoff time so you take a punch."

Nabokov made the save of the game 2 minutes into the 3rd period with the Avalanche on a power play of their own. The Sharks netminder stacked his pads to deny Matt Duchene and maintain his shutout.

Couture made it 4-0 at 10:37 on a put back after Ryane Clowe bull-dogged the puck around the right side and put a shot that kicked off Anderson out into the slot. Trailing on the play, Couture simply redirected it into a wide open net for his second of the night.

"I didn't expect to score two goals, but it's definitely good to help the team out, said the rookie forward. "It was a big win for us. I think every shift try and do something, whether it's in our end to create some offense and create som energy for the big boys. It's been awesome. Tonight I got to play with Heater and Manny and they're both great players so it's been fun."

Cody McLeod would a 5 minute major for charging at 11:04, so Colorado head coach Joe Sacco spared his netminder any further abuse by pulling him for backup Petr Budaj.

Marleau would finally get in the scoring column with a power play goal at 13:24 to cap the game’s scoring. Marleau was parked outside the right post, where he banged home a Heatley deflection.

The only thing left to be settled was is Nabokov would bring home the shutout. Colorado did a decent job of trying to get one past the goaltender. With Scott Nichol in the box for holding, the Avalanche would put two pucks off the post in the final minute. Nabokov preserved the goose egg on the last chance by reaching back to cover a Svatos shot that sat perched in the crease after bouncing off the right post.

Game Notes:

The start time for Game 6 on Saturday was finally announced. The puck will drop at 8pm in Denver , or 7pm on the West Coast.


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1 2 3 T
COL 0 0 0 0
SJ 0 3 2 5
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, SJ, Couture 1 (Heatley, Marleau), 8:25. 2, SJ, Pavelski 3 (Boyle, Setoguchi), 10:21, (pp). 3, SJ, Helminen 1 (Nichol, Murray), 15:30.
3rd period - 4, SJ, Couture 2 (Clowe, Setoguchi), 10:37. 5, SJ, Marleau 1 (Heatley, Demers), 13:24, (pp).
1st period - Quincey, COL (hooking), 0:42; Yip, COL (cross checking), 10:46.
2nd period - Galiardi , COL (holding the stick), 10:15; Hannan, COL (roughing), 18:52: Hannan, COL (roughing), 18:52; McGinn, SJ (roughing), 18:52.
3rd period - Demers, SJ (holding) 0:22; Quincey, COL (interference), 6:27; McLeod , COL (charging major), 11:04; Nichol, SJ (slashing), 14:09; Nichol, SJ (holding), 18:00.
Shots Saves
COL - Anderson 33 27
COL - Budaj 4 3
SJ - Nabokov 28 28
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
COL 2 9 17 28
SJ 12 17 8 37
Power Play Conversion
COL 0 of 3
SJ 2 of 7
3 Stars of the Game
Evgeni Nabokov
Logan Couture
Devin Setoguchi
Referees: Devorski, Kozari. Linesmen: Nansen, Heyer.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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