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WCSF Game 5: Hertl leads Sharks to crucial win
Sharks win tight 2-1 decision to grab series lead
5/4/19 - By Mike Lee -

The Western Conference Semi Finals series between the Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks shifted back to California on Saturday night in a pivotal Game 5. As was expected, the two teams played a knock down, drag out contest that ended with the Sharks holding a 2-1 advantage. Tomas Hertl scored a pair of goals to provide San Jose with all the offense they would need to give the Sharks a 302 series lead. Martin Jones stopped 21 shots to earn his 7th win of the playoffs.

San Jose can end the series with a win in Denver on Monday night. The Avalanche will have to lay it all out if they want to extend their season. It's a massive difference in positions between two teams that played almost equal hockey on Saturday night.

Avalanche goaltender Phillip Grubauer made 37 saves, including 16 in the 2nd period, but a 3rd period goal did in Colorado.

The Sharks appeared to take a 1-0 lead 7:04 into the game, when Kevin Labanc snapped a shot from the slot home, but Timo Meier was ruled to have high-sticked Mikko Rantanen before the goal was scored. Referees Tim Peel saw the infraction from the far end of the ice, but couldn't blow his whistle before Labanc deposited the puck past Avalanche goaltender Phillip Grubauer.

Not only was the goal pulled off the scoreboard, but the Sharks had to kill the ensuing penalty. The penalty kill was perfect on the night, stopping all three Avalanche chances.

Jones had little to do for the first 15 minutes of the game, facing only 1 shot up to that point. He made the save of the period off Rantanen from the doorstep.

Carl Soderberg put the Sharks on the power play midway through the 2nd period after tripping Kevin Labanc, but the Sharks special teams troubles continued. Brendan Dillon followed that up with another high sticking penalty at 12:35.

The Sharks killed the penalty, accented by a big save by Jones right before the infraction expired. Evander Kane put San Jose right back on the penalty kill when he cross checked Cale Makar.

San Jose killed the Kane penalty but on the next rush up the ice, Brent Burns tried to stick a puck out of the air rather than bodying up Tyson Jost. JT Compher sent a shot in on net that Jones denied, but the rebound kicked up in the air where Burns tried to swat it clear. The puck hit Jost in the shin pad, then bounced into the Sharks net for the 1-0 lead at 17:01.

San Jose went on the power play for the third time in the game with 66 seconds left in the period. The Sharks converted on the power play when Tomas Hertl tipped a Logan Couture shot past Grubauer to knot the game at 1-1 with 20 tickets left before the intermission.

Hertl put the Sharks on top for the first time in the game at 6:26, when he jammed a rebound into the Colorado net. Marc-Edouard Vlasic put a shot on goal from in tight, but Grubauer got a piece of it with his glove. Hertl was posted at the top of the crease and the puck landed right at his feet where he was able to push across the goal line for this 8th goal of the playoffs.

Jones kept the Sharks slim lead in tact with a pair of huge saves off of Tyson Barrie after the Sharks turned the puck over in their own zone.

The Sharks didn't go into prevent mode, but they couldn't get the puck past Grubauer. The Avalanche goaltender made 37 saves, but Jones was better.

Colorado head coach Jared Bednar pulled Grubauer with just under 2 minutes to play. San Jose had three good looks at the empty net, but they kept pushing the puck wide. That added to the tension level in the arena, which was buzzing as the Avalanche mounted their final push after calling a timeout.

The Sharks defense stepped up and saved Jones from having to make the big save late. They blocked several chances out in front as time expired.

Game Notes:

* Winning 61% of faceoffs (31 of 51) played a huge role in this game. Controlling the puck, especially late was so important. They won 62% in the 3rd period.

* The Sharks shutdown Nathan MacKinnon, holding him to one shot on goal. They kept him off the score sheet, which snapped an 8 game scoring streak.

* Sharks captain Joe Pavelski made an appearance in the 3rd period, stepping out of the tunnel area where the Sharks enter the ice to start each game. Dressed in a three piece suit, Pavelski waved a rally towel to generate some energy in the building. It was the first time most fans have seen Pavelski since he was knocked unconscious in Game 7 of the Vegas series.

* The game marked the 3rd time Tomas Hertl has recorded a 2-goal game in the playoffs. He set career highs in shots (8) and ice time (24:01) in the playoffs.

* The Sharks were 0-17-3 in the regular season when scoring two goals or fewer this season. Their Game 5 win was the second of this playoffs with a 2-goal performance.

* Joonas Donskoi made his return to the Sharks lineup after taking that big open ice hit in Game 6 of the Vegas series. The Sharks forward skated 11:15 of ice time on 16 shifts. He recorded an assist and provided energy on the forecheck that had been missing from the Sharks attack.


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1 2 3 T
COL 0 1 0 1
SJ 0 1 1 2
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, COL, Jost 1 (Compher), 17:01. 2, SJ, Hertl 7 (Couture, E. Karlsson), 19:40, (pp).
3rd period - 3, SJ, Hertl 8 (Vlasic, Donskoi), 6:26.
1st period - Meier, SJ (high sticking), 7:04; Rantanen, COL (cross checking), 15:54.
2nd period - Soderberg, COL (tripping), 9:31; Dillon, SJ (high sticking), 12:35; Kane, SJ (cross checking), 14:46; Barrie, COL (interference), 18:54.
3rd period - Zadorov, COL (high sticking), 0:31; Zadorov, COL (roughing), 7:31.
Shots Saves
COL - Grubauer 39 37
SJ - Jones 22 21
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
COL 6 9 7 22
SJ 12 17 10 39
Power Play Conversion
COL 0 of 3
SJ 1 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Tomas Hertl
Martin Jones
Logan Couture
SAP Center - 17,562
Referees: Peel, Joannette. Linesmen: Berg, Devorski.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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