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Tired but triumphant
Sharks roll in Colorado with 4-1 win
11/20/11 - By Mike Lee -

Had the Sharks succumbed to the fatigue that comes with playing games on back-to-back nights, Sunday night's game in Denver would have ended badly. Instead, San Jose weathered the opening 20 minutes against the upstart Colorado Avalanche, then showed why talent and experience are so important. They erased an early 1st period deficit with four straight goals, including three from Patrick Marleau.

Marleau's trifecta was the 4th of his career, but more importantly it helped the Sharks extend their Pacific Division lead. They moved into that lead less than 24 hours earlier after beating the Dallas Stars by the same 4-1 score they posted against the Avalanche.

The Avalanche had every intention of capitalizing on the Sharks travel schedule, as well as to turn around their home doldrums. Colorado had won only three times in nine tries at the Pepsi Center this season. The game plan was to outwork San Jose out of the gate and take advantage of a tired hockey club.

The plan worked early on. Matt Duchene gave Colorado a 1-0 lead 7:25 into the game, capping a sequence that mesmerized the Sharks defense. Ryan Wilson setup Duchene with a 30 foot pass through the slot for a one-time chance from the right dot, as four static Shark defenders locked in on Wilson.

The goal was the only blemish on netminder Thomas Greiss' evening. Greiss stopped 36 shots on the evening ad was arguably the best Shark on the ice. The Avalanche would only put 9 pucks on net in that opening 20 minutes, but it was by far the most intense period of the game for San Jose.

Penalties prevented Colorado from running amuck in the period. Marleau made it a wash midway through the period by punching home a shot from inside the crease just as a tripping penalty to Kyle Quincey was expiring. Marc-Edouard Vlasic earned the first of his three primary assists by firing the puck to Marleau just outside the right post.

Marleau deflected a shot by Vlasic past Avalanche goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere 7:35 into the 2nd period. Vlasic cranked a shot from the left post just as Marleau was cutting through the slot. Marleau got his stick blade on the low shot, tipping it over Giguere's left shoulder.

Joe Pavelski scored his 11th goal of the season with 3:13 left in the period to make the Avalanche's goal of coming back much more difficult. Joe Thornton setup the goal with a feed from behind the Avalanche net. Colorado shot themselves in the foot by failing to clear the puck.

Three 3rd period penalties sealed the deal for the Avalanche, who couldn't stay out of the box all night. Eric Johnson's interference penalty at 17:30 was the most egregious, as it nullified any chance of a comeback and was blatant.

Marleau capped his big night with a shot from the center line that found the empty net.

San Jose owned the faceoff circle, winning 33 of 54 draws. Pavelski and Handzus both had 70% conversion rates.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 1 2 1 4
COL 1 0 0 1
1st period - 1, COL, Duchene 9 (Wilson, Landeskog), 7:25. 2, SJ, Marleau 7 (Vlasic, Thornton), 12:16.
2nd period - 3, SJ, Marleau 8 (Vlasic, Clowe), 7:35. 4, SJ, Pavelski 11 (Thornton, Couture), 16:47.
3rd period - 5, SJ, Marleau 9 (Vlasic, Thornton), 19:17, (pp), (en).
1st period - Quincey, COL (tripping), 10:15; Landeskog, COL (goaltender interference), 19:14.
2nd period - O'Byrne, COL (delay of game - puck over glass), 1:50; Boyle, SJ (interference), 8:38; McClement, COL (interfernece), 19:25.
3rd period - Yip, COL (high sticking), 12:10; Johnson, COL (interference), 17:30; O'Byrne, COL (10 min misconduct), 17:30.
Shots Saves
SJ - Greiss 37 36
COL - Giguere 17 13
COL - empty net 1 0
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 6 9 3 18
COL 9 14 14 37
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 6
COL 0 of 1
3 Stars of the Game
Patrick Marleau
Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Matt Duchene
Referees: Joanette, Vinnerborg. Linesmen: Kovachik, Gibbs.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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