The Colorado Avalanche never trailed in their 4-3 overtime Game 6 win over the San Jose Sharks Monday night inside the Pepsi Center.
As the Avalanche faced elimination and their top line was shut down for most of the game, depth scoring emerged to help force a series-deciding Game 7.
Gabriel Landeskog scored the overtime game-winner, but it was third-liner JT Compher that came up big throughout the game. Compher had not recorded a point against the Sharks, but came up with two goals and an assist when the Avalanche season was on the line.
The Sharks barely escaped the opening period. They gave the Avalanche two power play opportunities while being outshot 11-5 in the first period.
The Avalanche opened the scoring four minutes into the second period on the first shot of the period. Compher rushed into the Sharks zone to pass it across to Tyson Jost, who one-timed it bar-down over Martin Jones.
Gustav Nyquist’s breakout pass allowed Timo Meier to show off his speed as well, cutting around Cale Makar to get to the Colorado net. While Grubauer made the save, Vlasic swooped in to score off the rebound.
Just four minutes later, with 1:16 left in the period, Compher gave the Avalanche a 2-0 lead with a one-time shot from just inside the Sharks zone.
But the lead did not last long. With four Colorado players circling him, Meier battled to enter the offensive zone. Meier protected the puck to get it to Erik Karlsson, who passed it to a rushing Brent Burns. Burns’ snapshot beat Grubauer far side, tying the game at 2-2 with just 10 seconds left before intermission.
The Avalanche retook the lead early in the third period. Derick Brassard made a centering pass to a wide-open Compher right in front of the Sharks net, who backhanded it over Jones for the 3-2 lead.
With five minutes left, the Avalanche had chances to extend the lead. Nathan MacKinnon was left alone in the slot, but a pass bounced off his skates and he could not settle it down. Just seconds later, MacKinnon’s backhand pass allowed Makar to get a clean shot off, but Jones made the save.
In the final three minutes of the third period, hard work down low paid off for the Sharks. From behind the Colorado net, Logan Couture made a quick pass to Vlasic, who one-timed it past Grubauer for the 3-3 tie. Vlasic’s first multi goal playoff game forced overtime for the first time this series.
Just 2:32 into the overtime period, Makar sent a long shot to keep the puck in the San Jose zone. Landeskog tipped the puck to himself and chipped a shot past Jones for the 4-3 win.
Game 7 will be played at SAP Center Wednesday at 6 p.m.