The San Jose Sharks have eliminated the Colorado Avalanche thanks to a thrilling Game Seven victory Wednesday.
The home team took the game 3-2 over the Avalanche and the contest was a stunner to the very end, with the Avalanche pressing everything they had for the final minutes. San Jose goalie Martin Jones held them in it and the raucous Sharks crowd held on.
The crowd got a boost early on with the return of Joe Pavelski, who sat out almost the entire series after going down to injury in Game Seven of the Sharks’ series against the Vegas Golden Knights. And boy, did Pavelski make an immediate impact. He scored just under six minutes into the game to open things up, then assisted on Tomas Hertl’s ninth of the playoffs under six minutes later.
The Avalanche returned with Mikko Rantanen’s sixth of the playoffs to cap off the first period, but there were distractions. One was a nullified Colorado goal that was waved back when Gabriel Landeskog was revealed to be “offside” by officials after a review.
The other was Nathan MacKinnon, who left the ice after taking an awkward semi-spill into the boards. He would return, but it’s hard to argue Colorado ever bounced back from the Landeskog situation.
There will be much to debate about the Landeskog call, of course, but the essential gist of it is that he did not leave the ice fast enough. And all sports feature “wrong calls” and the like, so eventually the onus has to fall on teams to bounce back, overcome and contend with any and all officiating miscues.
In the end, the Sharks are advancing to face the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference Final.
Joonas Donskoi scored the eventual winner, ending a 39-game drought, putting San Jose up 3-1 in the second period.
Tyler Jost made it interesting under a minute into the third period for Colorado, but Jones sealed the deal after that despite his team not really protecting their lead.
The Avalanche outshot the Sharks 29-27 and 15-2 in the third, but San Jose held the edge in the faceoff circle and in the hits department. Colorado had more giveaways, San Jose had more takeaways and both teams were zero-for-three on the power play.
Game One of the Western Conference Final series between the Sharks and Blues goes Saturday.
(Photo credit: NHL)