Game 81 Recap: Sharks make chum out of the Avs, 5-1

San Jose didn't get the memo tonight and played the game like it actually mattered.

The game started on a high note as Dallas was leading the Blues, and a couple of strong shifts by the Avalanche had the Sharks on their heels. However, the shift after a highlight reel save by Reto Berra saw a far less impressive effort by the Avs' newest netminder. Letting a softie sneak past him, Berra missed a shot by Dan Boyle, putting San Jose up 1-0.

At 13:47, the Avs pulled the first power play of the game as Joe Pavelski tripped up Ryan O'Reilly. Despite some good looks, the Sharks executed a successful kill, preserving that one-goal lead. Not long after, a rocket from the point by Patrick Marleau hit top shelf. Thirty seconds later, JS Giguere was in net.

Tyson Barrie got crunched just inside the blueline and dropped immediately to the ice, cradling his head. As play moved into the Avs' zone, he struggled to get to the bench.Shortly thereafter, Gabriel Landeskog did his own bench-hobbling. Both players remained on the bench, fortunately, but the Shark Tank doesn't have direct access from the bench to the locker room. All fans could do is wait to see if either/both returned.

The fans didn't have to wait too long to see Tyson back out there. Landy joined him soon after. All were hoping it meant both were okay, not both were fighting through it.

(Greg Sherman and Joe Sakic attended the game tonight. Always curious about the reasons behind appearances by the brass.)

As the first was winding down, you could already see fatigue setting in for the the Avs. Heavy legs and slow decisions made for 200 feet of struggles. It led to a penalty against the Avs with Erik Johnson tying up a guy behind the net a little too closely. According to PA Parenteau, it "was a fucking dive!" Regardless, it gave the Sharks 30 seconds of power play time to round out the first,

Starting the period on the power play with fresh ice is always welcomed by the team with the man advantage, and that's what the Sharks had for themselves to start the second. Not even 30 seconds in, and the Avs were looking flustered, running around without a game plan. It was becoming very clear that if they hoped to win this game, Jiggy was going to have to steal one for them.

Paul Statsny almost got things going for the Avs just under four minutes into the period, but the puck took a funny bounce on the attempted tip in. It started an avalanche of pressure in the Sharks zone, with the boys in white nearly getting on the board multiple times.

Just as we found out that the St. Louis lost to the Stars, we also found out that Barrie hadn't returned to the game. Fingers crossed it's precautionary. Ryan Wilson was shifted back to defense to cover the spot on D.

With just over 6 left in the middle frame, Johnson had the perfect set up with an O'Reilly pass into the crease. Unfortunately, San Jose goaltender Alex Stalock was up to the challenge.

For the first time in what seems forever, we were treated to a Mack Truck special. It seemed to give him some fire, and he was looking more like the Wilson we know and love.

After a fantastic cycle by a make-shift line of O'Reilly, Patrick Bordeleau and Max Talbot, the Avs cut the lead in half on the surprisingly slick hands of the Big Guy. It started with a beautiful play by RoR to hold the puck in at the blueline. Then Talbot pulled the defenders to him down low, leaving Bordy all alone just right of the slot. Perfectly placed pass and a puck in the back of the net.

Unfortunately, the good feels didn't last long as recently returned PA Parenteau got his stick up in the face of Brad Stuart. The first 1:30 of the kill was full of heart attack moments with Jiggy and Johnson coming up big to preserve the one-goal deficit. Parenteau was sprung for a breakaway as he left the box, but rusty hands and solid goaltending snuffed out the equalizer.

While the second period ended with the Sharks still on top of the scoreboard, an energized Colorado team continued to outshoot its opponent to keep the game interesting.

A turnover at the blueline ended up in some crazy chances by the Sharks, but Giguere did some slick moves to keep the rubber out of the net. With a ton of bodies, a ton of shots, and a defense that had Nate Guenin and Nick Holden as a second pairing, you knew a goal against was coming, and Martin Havlat delivered. 3-1 Sharks.

Johnson had another point blank chance after Landy saucered a perfect pass, but he was met with a brick wall. Play switched back the  other direction, and Jiggy did some brick-walling himself.

Havlat nabbed another goal off a breakaway. Giguere got the first save, but the rebound popped right onto Havlat's stick. Jiggy wasn't able to get positioning back to stop the second attempt. 4-1 Sharks with a little over 6 minutes left in the final period.

At the 5:37 mark, Roy pulled the goalie (of course) and while it looked like it might work again, a perfect bounce (just like all of the other bounces that happened all night), Havlat sunk an empty netter for the natural hat trick.

While disappointing, the loss on the scoreboard is nothing compared to the potential loss of Tyson Barrie. I'll consider this game a win if he's okay.

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