The San Jose Sharks redeemed themselves with a 2-1 Game 5 win over the Colorado Avalanche Saturday night.
After being shut out in Game 4, a 3-0 road loss, the Sharks dominated Game 5. Tomas Hertl responded to an early 1-0 deficit with a two-goal performance to lead the Sharks to a 3-2 series lead. Hertl said:
“Right away from the start, all 60 minutes we played hockey and Jonesy was again amazing, he made a couple of great saves again and we [took] over this game.”
Despite controlling play for most of the game, San Jose could not get a goal until late in the second period. Most of the night, Colorado goaltender Philipp Grubauer frustrated the Sharks by making 38 saves.
The one time San Jose did put a puck past Grubauer in the opening period, the play was reversed due to high-sticking penalty to Timo Meier. The penalty on Meier occured right before Kevin Labanc sniped a shot top corner after receiving a Joe Thornton pass. Gustav Nyquist said:
“We keep going on this team. In the playoffs, goals are hard to come by. I don’t think there was any quit in our game today.”
Even shorthanded, the Sharks dominated, holding Colorado to zero shots on goal through the two minute penalty kill.
San Jose followed up the penalty kill with another offensive push, pouring four shots on Grubauer.
Goaltender Martin Jones was tested late in the first period, moving across to stop Mikko Rantenan’s tap-in attempt.
San Jose continued to dominate in the second period, putting nine more shots on goal through the first seven minutes. The Sharks had another power play opportunity halfway through the second period, but did not convert despite putting three more shots on goal.
The momentum was reversed when Colorado received back-to-back power plays. While San Jose’s penalty killers only allowed one shot on goal through the four minutes of shorthanded time, Colorado scored the opening goal shortly after. JT Compher’s rebound deflected off of Tyson Jost to give Colorado the 1-0 lead with three minutes left before intermission.
But the Sharks fired back with their own late second period goal.
With 1:06 left, Kane drew an interference penalty by Tyson Barrie. The Sharks finally converted on their third power play of the night when Logan Couture’s blast from the point was redirected into the net by Hertl. Couture said:
“It was big for our power play … That was as good as we’ve looked on the power play in this series. Kind of just felt that one was going to find its way into the net.”
Couture’s team-leading 13th point of the playoffs to tie the game also ended San Jose’s goal-less drought of 100:10. Erik Karlsson also assisted on the Sharks second power play goal this series. DeBoer said:
“We needed a power play goal. At that point in the game, we had thrown a lot of rubber at the net, and I thought deserved to have a couple, and we didn’t. So the fact that we stuck with it … obviously gave us a lift going into the third.”
The Sharks constant pressure finally paid off when they took their first lead of the game. Joonas Donskoi toe-dragged around Samuel Girard to get the puck to Marc-edouard Vlasic. Vlasic’s shot deflected off of Hertl’s stick, landing at his feet for him to tap in his second goal of the night for the 2-1 San Jose lead.
The Sharks closed out the game thanks to more stellar goaltending by Jones. With 9:30 left, Jones made a big save by stopping Barrie’s attempt to one-time a rebound. Just a minute later, Jones got in front of Nikita Zadorov‘s backhand shot after a quick passing play. Jones stopped 21 of 22 shots he faced in the 2-1 win. Jones said:
“Tonight was probably our best game … for the most part, we defended really, really well tonight.”
With a 3-2 series lead, the Sharks are one win away from closing out the series. However, the memory of winning three elimination games against Vegas is still on DeBoer’s mind. DeBoer said:
We didn’t go away easily and I don’t anticipate [Colorado’s] going to either. This feels good, we put ourselves in a good spot … but we’re going to have to put on the work boots and put in a lot of work in order to [win] in Denver.”
Game 6 will be played in Colorado Monday at 6 p.m.