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McLellan's odd move dots another loss
Sharks fall to Avalanche in shootout
12/13/11 - By Mike Lee -

Todd McLellan is starting to get desperate. Already forced to juggle his lines in order to generate any signs of life from his team, the Sharks head coach resorted to using 4th line forward Brad Winchester in the shootout on Tuesday night in Colorado. Winchester was called upon after Daniel Landeskog put the Avalanche up in the 5th round of the shootout. With the game on the line, Winchester clanked his shot off the right post to hand the Sharks their 7th loss in the last 9 games.

The game would never have even made the overtime period, much less the shootout, if San Jose held on to the lead. That wasn't the case, as Colorado scored a pair of 3rd period goals to erase a 2-1 Sharks lead. San Jose was then forced to score late in the game to salvage a point.

Using Winchester in the shootout with Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Dan Boyle all available made McLellan's decision all the more peculiar. Even Jamie McGinn, currently the Sharks hottest hand, was sitting on the bench ready to take a shot at Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov.

Perhaps the Sharks should be thankful for the point they earned just for getting to overtime. Regulation wasn't exactly a picnic for San Jose. They surrendered the game's first goal with 16.6 seconds remaining in the opening period. Stefan Elliott carried the puck coast to coast before firing a shot past Anttii Niemi. The goal was painful because of its proximity to the 1st intermission, but the fact that Elliott skated untouched made it inexcusable.

Colorado outplayed San Jose for much of the first two periods, but the Sharks managed to score a pair of goals in the 2nd period.

McGinn scored a rare power play goal at 3:16 of the period, redirecting a Boyle shot while parked in front of Varlamov. San Jose used almost all of the 2 minutes afforded them from a T.J. Galiardi high sticking penalty to tie the game at 1-1.

Boyle gave the Sharks their only lead of the game 10 minutes later by pumping a shot from the slot past the Avalanche netminder. Boyle pinched between the circles, one-timing a Joe Pavelski deflection for his 2nd goal of the season.

San Jose couldn't hold the lead.

Things started to unravel after a ridiculous pair of penalties were called by referees Tim Peel and Brad Watson. Shane O'Brien was called for goaltender interference after colliding with Niemi. Martin Havlat then joined him for hooking on the play. The issue was that Havlat and O'Brien were tied up right before Niemi was bowled over, so one of the two should have been sent off, but not both.

Daniel Winnik knotted the game at 2-2 on the ensuing 4-on-4, after Jason Demers was caught out of position. Winnik beat Demers to a loose puck behind the Sharks net and continued his tour of the Sharks zone by wrapping a shot into the wide open net.

Colin White was whistled for a questionable holding penalty midway through the period and the Avalanche would capitalize. Matt Duchene walked in on the league's worst penalty kill and snapped a shot past Niemi from 10 feet out.

Marleau and Logan Couture salvaged the Sharks lone point with 22 seconds left in regulation after the Sharks had pulled Niemi for the extra skater. Couture picked up a loose puck just past the Colorado blueline then put a highlight reel move on O'Brien before sending a backhand pass to Marleau in the slot. Marleau poked it past Varlamov for this 11th goal of the season.

The overtime period was back and forth, but ended right after a Brent Burns attempt missed just wide of the net.

Milan Hejduk scored in the opening round of the shootout, but was matched by Pavelski in the 3rd round. Landeskog snapped a wrister just under Niemi's blocker in the 5th round, before Winchester's last ditch effort caught the post.





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Scoring
1 2 3 OT SO T
SJ 0 2 1 0 0 3
COL 1 0 2 0 1 4
1st period - 1, COL, Elliott 3 (unassisted), 19:43.
2nd period - 2, SJ, McGinn 7 (Boyle, Handzus), 3:16, (pp). 3, SJ, Boyle 2 (Pavelski, Mitchell), 13:39.
3rd period - 4, COL, Winnik 4 (Johnson, Quincey), 6:31. 5, COL, Duchene 11 (Hejduk, O'Reilly), 11:51, (pp). 6, SJ, Marleau 11 (Couture, Thornton), 19:38.
Overtime - None.
Shootout - COL: Hejduk (goal), Duchene (miss), O'Reilly (miss), Jones (miss), Landeskog (goal). SJ: Handzus (miss), Havlat (miss), Pavelski (goal), Clowe (miss), Winchester (miss).
Penalties
1st period - McLeod, COL (charging), 11:46.
2nd period - Galiardi, COL (high sticking), 1:25.
3rd period - Havlat, SJ (hooking), 4:44; O'Brien, COL (goaltender interference), 4:44; White, SJ (holding), 10:16.
Overtime - None.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Niemi 33 30
COL - Varlamov 30 27
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
SJ 11 7 9 3 30
COL 11 11 9 2 33
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 2
COL 1 of 1
3 Stars of the Game
Attendence
17,592
Officials
Referees: Peel, Watson. Linesmen: Heyer, McElman.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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