'Tis the season for giving, and apparently the Sharks were trying to atone for previous mistakes. They would commit four penalties in the 1st Period, bestowing upon the nice-list Avalanche eight minutes of 5-on-4 advantage. Tomas Hertl would commit the first offense, hooking Matt Duchene 5:33 into the period, but no goals would be scored. Joe Thornton would try his hand at tripping Duchene just twenty-five seconds after the previous penalty ended. This time they would find the back of the net, scoring on a nifty demonstration of passing from Jarome Iginla and Carl Soderberg to set up Nathan MacKinnon (Video). Patrick Marleau would provide a reprieve from "Penalty Fest 2015," capitalizing off a poor Jack Skille turnover (Video). But this momentary stretch of innocence would not last. Brenden Dillon was next on the penalty-box waiting list, hooking Soderberg on a breakaway -- no goals this time. Paul Martin would cap off the crime spree with the third hooking penalty of the period, this time getting Skille. The Avs, finally getting a hang of this whole power play thing, worked a number of crisp passes around the zone before finding Francois Beauchemin at the point. He fired a wrist shot toward the net and Soderberg tipped it in while set up in the slot (Video). The buzzer would sound with the score 2-1 Colorado.
The Avs would get their first even-strength goal 11:19 into the 2nd Period when Matt Duchene attained Hulk-strength, held off Paul Martin near the goal line, and spun around to bury a backhand (Video). That would be Duchene's 13th goal on the road this season and his 17th overall -- certainly the most beastly. Melker Karlsson would make it a one-goal game just minutes later off a slick Joe Thornton pass from behind the net (Video). But most notable in the period was a shot that didn't go in. Sharks' defenseman Dylan DeMelo ripped slapshot from the blue line the climbed straight into Gabriel Landeskog's face. He instantly fell to the ice and went straight to the locker room, with all of us left to imagine all kinds of terrible resulting injuries.
However, he was back on the ice in the 3rd Period (with a slightly larger helmet visor) because he's a god damned hockey player -- amazing.
The Sharks decided in the 3rd Period to resume their strategy of committing copious penalties. Brent Burns was sent off the ice for holding and Blake Comeau would tip in an Erik Johnson shot during the ensuing power play to make the score 4-2 (Video). Tomas Hertl would score 58 seconds later (Video) to keep the game close, but for once the Avs put their foot down and would close out the game. Nathan MacKinnon made it 5-3 on yet another power play (Video) and scored on an empty net opportunity during the closing seconds to earn himself a hat trick (Video).
Colorado would win in San Jose for the first time since 2008. Yes, more than seven seasons ago, before any current Avalanche was on the team (save Cody McLeod). About time!
- Nathan MacKinnon - It's pretty simple, really. If you score three goals in a game, you get on this list.
- Carl Soderberg - If you cant score three goals, the next best thing is scoring one goal and two assists.
- Calvin Pickard - Strong start by the AHL call-up. He wasn't perfect, but War-On-Ice counted 83 shots at the net for San Jose. That's a lot, and he turned all but three of them away. Good stuff.
- San Jose's Penalties - Six penalties will doom just about any team to a loss, even against a struggling power play like the Avs'. Lots of hooking and grabbing and not much skating. Poor formula for success.
- The Puck That Hit Landy's Face - Dude, not cool.
- Avalanche Shot Suppression - Yeah, score effects. I get it. The Avs scored a bunch with a man advantage and they sat back after they got a lead. This isn't a new phenomena -- they've done it all year -- but tonight was especially bad. Example? Nick Holden and Francois Beauchemin were Minus-26 and Minus-28 5v5 respectively.