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Mile high but inches from defeat
Sharks hold on to beat Colorado 5-4
1/2/19 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks brushed aside their disappointing performance in Calgary on New Year's Eve, kicking off 2019 with a hair-raising 5-4 win in Denver over the host Colorado Avalanche. The Sharks jumped out to a 5-1 lead, before allowing the Avalanche to score three straight goals to cut the lead to a single goal. Martin Jones stopped 31 shots, including a Nathan Mackinnon shot from the doorstep at the final horn to preserve the Sharks first win of the new year.

MacKinnon came within inches completing an improbable comeback, but Jones was Johnny on the spot. The Sharks goaltender had to track that pass out of the right corner, sliding to his right to cutoff the angle, and snuffing Mackinnon's shot.

It shouldn't have been that close. The Sharks looked like gangbusters through the first 40 minutes of play, but they let the 3rd period slip out of their grasp. Colorado could have rolled over after falling behind by 4 goals, but they persevered.

San Jose took advantage of a Tyson Barrie hooking penalty a minute into the game when Joe Pavelski fired a shot past Avalanche goaltender Phillip Grubauer from the left dot. The Sharks worked the puck well on the man advantage, ending the sequence when Logan Couture fed Pavelski for a one time chance. The goal was Pavelski's 24th of the season.

Matt Calvert tied the game at 8:20, when the Avalanche worked the puck to the right corner where former Shark Matt Nieto lured a pair of Shark defenders. Calvert slid to the high slot where Nieto set him up. Four Sharks stood watching as Calvert unloaded on a shot that eluded Martin Jones.

Justin Braun was injured with 6 minutes left in the period and had to be helped off the ice. The Sharks defenseman was favoring his right leg as two teammates helped him get to the bench.

Colorado created issues for themselves when Calvert followed Patrik Nemeth to the penalty box 41 seconds apart. San Jose converted on the 5-on-3 when Brent Burns blasted a shot from the high slot for his 7th tally of the season.

The goal allowed Nemeth to rejoin the action, but San Jose could not add on to their lead with Calvert still in the penalty box.

Evander Kane made it a 3-1 Sharks lead 4:15 into the 2nd period when he grabbed a mishandled puck behind the Avalanche goal with speed, then skated out to the right flat before lifting a shot home for his 12th goal of the season. Grubauer seemed unprepared for the shot, which was not of the tricky variety.

Joonas Donskoi followed Kane's goal with a highlight reel tally of his 2 minutes later when he carried the puck around the left post, flying behind the Colorado net, and tucking the puck around the off post with Grubauer diving to cover the right post.

Donskoi's goal would spell the end of the road for Grubauer, who was replaced by Pavel Francouz.

San Jose pushed their lead to 5-1 with 3:27 left in the period when Lukas Radil jammed home a rebound from the right post. The Sharks had a 3-on-1 led by Pavelski who tried to snap a give-and-go chance with Logan Couture. Francouz denied the Sharks captain, but the puck slipped over to the right side where Radil was lurking. The young Czech forward made the deposit for his 5th goal of the season.

Tyson Jost responded 16 seconds later by putting a shot past Jones for his 5th of the season.

Barrie cut the sharks lead to 5-3 with 7:48 left in regulation. The Avalanche forward grabbed a Joakim Ryan turnover in the slot before snapping an 18-foot shot past Jones for his 5th goal of the season.

A Brendan Dillon interference penalty with 5:22 to play in regulation allowed the Avalance to cut the Sharks lead to a lone goal. Jost converted his second goal of the game by blowing a shot past Jones from the slot. The Sharks had killed all but 2 seconds of the Dillon penalty before Colorado was able to move the puck to the slot where Jost answered.

Colorado pulled Francouz with 1:45 to play and came within inches of tying the game at the final buzzer.

Game Notes:

* San Jose scored 5-plus goals in 3-straight road games for the first time in franchise history

* Justin Braun tried to skate at the start of the 2nd period, but he quickly figured out that he couldn't continue. That forced Erik Karlsson to skate 31 minutes of ice time in the game.

* Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski were named the game's 1st and 3rd star respectively. Each player recorded a goal and 3 assists for a 4 point night.

* Marcus Sorensen had a tough night, turning in a -3 plus/minus. He didn't record a single shot, block or hit in the game.

* The Sharks will face one of the biggest tests of the season when they return home to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. The Lightning did not lose a single game in regulation in the month of December.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 2 3 0 5
COL 1 1 2 4
1st period - 1, SJ, Pavelski 24 (Couture, Burns), 2:15, (pp). 2, COL, Calvert 6 (Nieto, Mackinnon), 8:20. 3, SJ, Burns 7 (E. Karlsson, Pavelski), 17:14, (pp).
2nd period - 4, SJ, Kane 12 (Burns, Pavelski), 4:15. 5, SJ, Donskoi 10 (Burns, Vlasic), 6:18. 6, SJ, Radil 5 (Pavelski, Couture), 16:33. 7, COL, Jost 5 (Compher, Kerfoot), 16:49.
3rd period - 8, COL, Barrie 5 (unassisted), 12:12. 9, COL, Jost 6 (Girard, Kierfoot), 16:36, (pp).
1st period - Barrie, COL (hooking), 1:07; Goodrow, SJ (cross checking), 9:48; Nemeth, COL (holding), 15:52; Calvert, COL (high sticking), 16:33.
2nd period - E. Karlsson, SJ (tripping), 17:14; Goddrow, SJ (hooking), 20:00.
3rd period - Dillon, SJ (interference), 14:38.
Shots Saves
SJ - Jones 35 31
COL - Grubauer 14 10
COL - Francouz 13 12
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 7 14 6 27
COL 11 14 10 35
Power Play Conversion
SJ 2 of 3
COL 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Brent Burns
Erik Johnson
Joe Pavelski
Pepsi Center - 17,891
Referees: Chmielewski, McCauley. Linesmen: Brisebois, Daisy.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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