The Sharks continued the "playing out the
season" parade with a stop in Denver to take on the Colorado Avalanche on
Thursday night. The Sharks went toe-to-toe with the league's best team, but in
the end, the Avalanche simply outclassed the Sharks. The teams were tied 2-2
with 8 minutes to play, before Colorado's deadly power play took advantage of
The Avalanche entered play having scored a power play goal
in 8 straight games. The Sharks looked as if they might suppress the Colorado
special teams unit.
The two teams played a fast paced 1st period,
which saw the Avalanche out-shoot San Jose 15-7. Colorado enjoyed the period's
only power play after Ryan Merkley was whistled for hooking. The sharks managed
to keep the Avalanche off the board even with the large disparity in shots.
They wouldn't be sol lucky in the middle frame. Alex Newhook staked
Colorado to the 1-0 lead just 1:54 into the period. The Avalanche cycled the
puck around the left wing boards, then to the slot where Newhook gathered a
pass and pivoted to face the net and fire a shot through traffic.
Sharks challenged the play, citing interference on Kaapo Kahkonen, but it was
ruled to be a clean goal. The Sharks earned delay of game penalty for the
unsuccessful challenge. San Jose killed the penalty to keep the deficit at a
Timo Meier evened things up at 12:09 when he whipped home
a loose puck from the right side. Tomas Hertl drove to the net and was tripped
up, but the puck floated over to Meier who lifted a shot past goaltender Pavel
Francouz. It was Meier's 31st goal and 67th point of the season, which
established career high's in both categories.
Colorado regained the
lead 3:05 into the 3rd period when Darren Helm converted on a Sharks turnover.
Defenseman Erik Karlsson made a half-hearted attempt at clearing a puck as he
slated up the left wing, but he made the poor decision to push the puck to the
middle rather than the safety of the boards. Vaerli Nichushkin gloved the
clearing attempt then slid it to the slot where Helm had Kahkonen dead to
Brent Burns tied it at 2-2 3 minutes later with a long shot
from the high slot that beat Francouz through the five hole. The goal was Burns
8th tally of the season.
A Nicolas Meloche slashing penalty at 11:09 would
cost the Sharks dearly. Colorado's red hot power play had been held in check
for mot of the night, but a fourth power play opportunity was one chance too
many for the Sharks.
Mikko Rantanen converted the man advantage after
Nazem Kadri gathered a big rebound and sent the puck over to the right side for
a slam dunk goal. It was simply something the Sharks could not contain.
Andre Burakovsky ended any chance of a comeback when he scored with 4
minutes and change left in the game. Ryan Merkley had defensive responsibility
to contain the big forward, but he just wasn't quick enough to respond to a
rebound that Burakovsky punched home. Game Notes:
Goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen deserved a better fate for his play on Thursday
night. The Sharks goaltender made 42 saves, but was hung out to dry in that 3rd
* Nazem Kadri was banged up in the 3rd period when Tomas Hertl
pushed him into the back of Timo Meier. Kadri was down on the ice for a moment
then slammed his helmet on the ice to dispute the absence of a penalty call.
There really was nothing to call, except for a misconduct that Kadri should
have received for his tantrum.
* Erik Karlsson has 5 points (2 goals,
3 assists) since returning from injury on March 10th, but the defenseman has
been a turnover machine. He is a -7 in that span, due in part to carelessness
with the puck all too frequently.
* The Sharks finished the month of
March with a miserable 5-7-2 record. The Sharks Two three-loss spans doomed the
Sharks in the month.
* Rudolfs Balcers led the Sharks with 4 shots in
the game, but the Sharks forward is invisible on the ice. The forward hasn't
recorded a point in 6 games. Balcers was moved up to the top line late in the
game, but it made little difference.