Pens, Sharks Advance

The playoffs are heating up and two more teams have advanced to the second round of the playoffs. The San Jose Sharks knocked off the Colorado Avalanche and the Pittsburgh Penguins dealt with the pesky Ottawa Senators tonight, narrowing the playoff picture considerably.

The Penguins came out sluggish in their Saturday night game against the Senators and fans in Ottawa started to think that their team could win it. With the Penguins down 3-1 going into the third period, fans could smell it in the nation’s capital. But it was not to be, as the Penguins rallied back led by Matt Cooke of all people to eventually win the game 4-3 in overtime.

Pens captain and Canada’s golden boy Sidney Crosby didn’t exactly have the best of nights, either, and it was largely up to secondary scoring to get the job done. Pascal Dupuis eventually potted the winner, perhaps closing the deal after telling Senators goalie Pascal Leclaire “We’re coming” after the comeback began. The Penguins outshot the Senators in the third period by a total of 18-4 and it was clear Ottawa was on the ropes.

It was revealed after the game that heroic Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson had been playing through a stomach problem, too.

Over in Colorado, the Avalanche were trying to climb uphill to make their way back into the series but couldn’t come up with a win in the sixth game. Joe Pavelski was the big hero for the Sharks, as he potted two goals including the winner.

With a 5-2 final, the Sharks looked prepared but still struggled at times against the faster Avalanche team. Colorado gave them plenty of trouble and the Sharks had to rely on depth to get it done. The line of Pavelski, Devin Setoguchi and Ryan Clowe was by far the team’s most effective against Colorado keeper Craig Anderson.

The Sharks now have to look ahead and hope to be able to make it past the second round, a feat they’ve only managed once in franchise history. Despite strong regular seasons, San Jose has almost always struggled in the post-season.

Both the Penguins and Sharks will now have some time to rest and regroup. The Sharks were the first team in the West to advance, while the Penguins join the Flyers waiting for their next opponents out East.

Posted by Jordan Richardson.

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