Desperately needing a win after dropping their last four games, the Sharks delivered two goals in the third period Thursday to overcome the Colorado Avalanche, 4-2.
In the must-win match to secure home ice in the first round of the playoffs, San Jose skated onto the ice with great vigor. The Sharks (45-26-10) opened the scoring just 2:58 into the first period, after Logan Couture found Justin Braun at the point who sent a one-timer that deflected off the stick of defender Gabriel Bourque‘s skate and past goaltender Jonathan Bernier.
Braun said about his goal and taking extending the lead for the second seed in the division:
“It’s always nice to chip in on the offensive side, especially early. I think we’ve had a pretty good starts as of late. … We needed that (win,) just to kind of put those other teams in the rearview a little bit.”
After coming out firing in the first period, the Sharks would let up and allow Colorado (42-30-9) to control the pace late into the first period and into the second. The Sharks were given the opportunity to extend the lead nine minutes into the second, but the Avs’ third-ranked penalty kill — 83.8 percent — would curb any chance of that happening.
Said Pavelski on his team’s performance, despite facing a team that needed a win:
“We knew this team’s hanging on right now, and they’re going to give us a desperate game and we definitely meshed. We were pretty good I think.”
Not even a minute after Rantanen’s game-tying goal, the Sharks were put on the powerplay due to a Blake Comeau high-sticking penalty. Logan Couture received the puck at the side of the slot, wristing a shot past Bernier.
Head coach Pete DeBoer said about the importance of the win:
“It was a big win for us. We’re short some people, so it wasn’t a pretty win but we found a way. Tough time of year, tough circumstances against a real desperate team. … An important two points.”
The Sharks close out the regular season Saturday when they host the Minnesota Wild.
Veteran Joe Thornton is not expected to return by the end of the regular season. Despite returning to practice, DeBoer gave no timetable for Thornton’s return.