Avs Battle Back Late, Lose in Shootout, Game 18 Recap

USA TODAY Sports

A stellar performance in net by Semyon Varlamov steals his club a point in 3-2 shootout loss to Sharks.

The 'winless in their last 9 games' San Jose Sharks scored just 25 seconds in as Jumbo Joe Thornton sent a no-look pass into the slot where Logan Couture pounded it home while falling to the ice. Sunnyside Altitude color commentator Peter McNab bucked Kroenke convention mandate and called out the Avs as being out of position on the play, as well as getting caught watching the puck. Deja Vu set in as shades of last Saturday's LA debacle surfaced...

The Avs killed off a Mark Olver goalie interference penalty that exposed Colorado's weak defensive coverage and San Jose promptly started sending everything to the slot because apparently the Avalanche are not allowed to defend that area. At one point, a large neon sign was lowered just above ice level with a glowing red arrow pointing to the slot with the words "we have the loosest slots!" burning proudly in Burgundy. F.

Luckily, the Avs then sent out their dominant new line of Bordeleau and Paulshaj, centered by Chuck "Don't Call Me a Winger" Kobasew, and tied things up at 1 to finish off a tenacious shift. Palushaj carried the puck in with speed and attempted a wrap around (i.e., he fell down) and then Palushaj and Bordeleau worked hard along the boards (i.e., they both fell down) and got the puck to Hejda at the point. Sharks' goalie Antti Niemi couldn't control Hejda's heavy slapper and the rebound was poked in by Kobasew stationed just outside the crease. Bordeleau picks up his first NHL point. Congrats Bordy!

Following the script, the Shark's 4th line turned in a hard shift early in the 2nd period and were rewarded with TJ Galiardi's first tally of the season (you knew it would happen). Galiardi tipped-in a centering pass right in front to put the Shark's up 2-1, while also ensuring the Curse of Ex-Avs stays alive and well.

Big Joe Thornton tried his no look passing genius again on another SJ PP, but Varlamov fought off the shot to help the Avalanche kill the short-handed scenario. Great save. Period ends 2-1 Sharks, with the Avs being outshot 30-17.

About midway through the third the visitors killed off San Jose's 4th powerplay with Varlamov standing on his head to keep it a 1-goal game. McGinn almost tied it up after that, but his shot from in-close hit the side of the net. The Avs gained some momentum on the back of those strong plays, culminating in the Avs second man-advantage of the night. Shane O'Brien drove hard to the net trailing a 3-on-1 Avalanche break and drew a bad penalty on Havlat after the whistle to earn the PP, but the Avalanche couldn't beat Niemi.

Then it got weird and wonderful. The Avs celebrated an Mark Olver/Chuck Kobasew goal that was whistled no goal, but after video review it was ruled that the Avalanche were not delusional and it was indeed a good goal. It was credited to Kobasew, but that may change to Olver later. If not, the Avs may have found their replacement for Ryan O`Reilly in the form of reborn Chuck Kobasew, NHL Centerman. Oh wait, they gave it to Mark Olver. Sorry Chuck. Doesn't matter, game knotted up at 2 a piece. Great play by Olver to not give up on the play and smack the puck over a sprawled Niemi.

With 1 minute left, an errant high-stick from Jamie McGinn put San Jose on their 5th powerplay, and the Jaws music played in HP Pavilion was quite apropos. But the Avalanche PK mustered to kill the first minute and get the game to OT, securing at least a point, and then Varly flashed some leather on Joe Thornton who had puck wired for the top corner to kill the penalty in OT. Save, and a beauty. Avs 5 for 5 on the PK tonight. A few more big saves from #1 and the game went to a shootout.

In the Avs' first shootout of the season (really??): Handzus beat Varly stick side, Niemi stopped Hejduk's 5-hole try, Varly gloved Pavelski's attempt, Landeskog's backhander went wide, Dan Boyle's backhander was kicked out by Varlamov, Parenteau had to score to keep the shootout going and he did as the puck trickled through Niemi, then Marleau scored 5-hole to win it for the Sharks when Mitchell did nothing with his shootout bid. Avs drop it in the SO 3-2. Great effort to fight back after a lackluster first period and chisel off a point from themselves.

MHH Stick Taps

  • Semyon Varlamov - 39 saves. Great bounce back game, and good poise to shake off that early goal and fight back to get his team a point. Seriously, he was easily the star of the game.
  • Kobasew/Olver, 1 goal each
  • PA Parenteau - strong game, created lots of opportunities despite a couple iffy penalties

Lines

  • McGinn - Stastny - Parenteau
  • Landeskog - Mitchell - Jones
  • McLeod - Olver - Hejduk
  • Bordeleau - Kobasew - Palushaj
  • Hejda - Barrie
  • Hunwick - O`Byrne
  • Zanon - O'Brien
  • Varlamov

Injured & Out: Duchene (groin), Johnson (head), Wilson (leg), Downie (knee)

Scratched: Elliot

Quick Hits

  • Barrie made a tremendous spin move bringing the puck out of his own zone to shake a defender. Uh, ya, he is here to stay.
  • The hitting picked up a bit in the middle frame, with the highlights being Matt Hunwick dropping TJ Galiardi coming out of the Sharks zone, and Landeskog knocking Joe Pavelski at center ice.
  • O'Brien returned to the lineup tonight and was his usual frustrating self, doing something impressive on the same shift as doing something reprehensible. He's his own worst enemy.

Next Up

The Avalanche return home for a match up against the Calgary Flames on Thursday at 7pm on Altitude. Then your battled and battered Avs head off on another 3-game jaunt, this time through the Central Division (i.e., Red Wings Suck, the Blackhawks set records, Columbus is sad - but not necessarily in that order. Go Avs).

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