San Jose Sharks at Colorado Avalanche
When and Where: Monday, May 6, Pepsi Center, Denver, Colo., 10 p.m. EDT.
San Jose leads series 3-2.
Martin Jones has gone from first-round albatross to astounding and has the San Jose Sharks on the verge of the Western Conference finals as they look to eliminate the Colorado Avalanche in Game 6 on Monday night.
Jones looks to continue solid run for Sharks
After a 5-0 loss to Vegas in Game 4 left San Jose facing a 3-1 series deficit in which Jones was pulled after letting up two goals in the first period, coach Pete DeBoer had to make a command decision: Either stick with Jones or turn to Aaron Dell and try to win the series.
— #StanleyCup on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) May 5, 2019
DeBoer chose the former, and Jones and the Sharks have not looked back. Jones, who had 36 wins despite an .896 save percentage, has responded to his coach’s confidence with a 6-2 record, 1.94 goals-against average, and .936 save percentage in helping the Sharks eliminate the Golden Knights and push the Avalanche to the brink of a postseason exit.
Jones had his best performance of the series Saturday night, finishing with 21 saves in San Jose’s 2-1 victory that was also his team’s best game of the series. Tomas Hertl scored both goals for the Sharks, including the go-ahead tally with 13:34 to play.
“I think right away from the start, all 60 minutes we played hockey,” Hertl told NHL.com. “[Goalie Martin Jones] was again amazing. He made some great saves again and we take over this game. But we have to be ready because we know in Colorado, they will come hard.”
Hertl’s two goals were his first of this series and his first points in the second round since registering a pair of assists in Game 2. While Joe Pavelski again did not play due to the head injury suffered in Game 7 versus Vegas, he was at the game and whipped the crowd into a frenzy with his surprise third-period appearance.
— NHL Sverige (@NHLsv) May 5, 2019
Pavelski has been skating with the team over the past few days, but he has been ruled out of this contest. The 38-goal scorer, however, is hopeful he would be able to play should this series be extended to a decisive Game 7.
“I felt a little bit more burn, it was a good day,” Pavelski said at his media availability after participating in San Jose’s morning skate in Colorado on Monday. “Game 7 is a possibility, I think. A few more days rest. It really is day to day and we’ll go from there.
“Everything is move forward always and that’s all you can really ask for,” he added.
On the defensive end, the Sharks appear to have found the pairing to at least slow down Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon as Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic were tasked with shutting down the top-line center. MacKinnon was held to one shot as his eight-game postseason point streak was snapped.
“I thought Pickles and Burnzie were great. Picks has had an incredible playoffs,” Logan Couture told the San Jose Mercury News. “He’s taken his game to a whole other level. He’s one of if not the best shutdown d-men, and he’s shown it in these playoffs. He’s been incredible. A lot of credit goes to him and Burnzie.”
Avs look to send series back to San Jose for Game 7
Saturday night’s defeat overshadowed another stellar effort by Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer, who finished with a playoff career-high 37 saves coming off his Game 4 shutout.
— x- Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) May 5, 2019
“We didn’t win so it wasn’t good enough,” Grubauer told NHL.com. “I gave one up, two up and I think two lucky ones, but they pushed way harder than they did in our building. So a different team in their own barn, but I think we played a good game for the most part.”
The Avalanche were on their heels for most of the contest and were outshot 39-22 for the game, including 29-15 in the first two periods. Their big line of MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog was virtually non-existent, combining for just five shots and no points.
“We know what’s at stake here and know how important the next one is going to be,” Landeskog told the Denver Post. “So if anything we have to make sure our desperation level is up and urgency and intensity and all those things.”
One area for worry is the Avalanche gave the Sharks enough chances to bring their moribund power play to life. San Jose went 1 for 5 with the man advantage after limiting Colorado to one goal in 11 chances in the first four games of the series.
The Avalanche lost a Game 6 elimination contest last year 5-0 at home to Nashville in the first round. They have lost seven consecutive elimination games since a 2-1 victory at San Jose in Game 5 of the 2004 conference semifinals to prolong a six-game series exit.
“It’s disappointing because you knew someone at the end of the night was going to face elimination, right? [We’ve] been working all year to try and get to this point and keep moving on,” said Avs coach Jared Bednar. “It is disappointing, it should be. There should be a little bit of frustration because we know we didn’t play as good as we can play. There should be some disappointment.
“We’ll look at some things on video, and we’ll turn the page and get ready to go. We got to go win Game 6.”
The Sharks are:
- 6-2 in their last eight games as road underdogs.
- 4-0 in their last four games after scoring two or fewer runs in the previous game.
- 20-8 in their last 28 games after allowing two or fewer goals in their previous game.
The Avalanche are:
- 2-5 in their last seven home games as favorites between -110 to -150.
- 3-8 in their last 11 games as favorites between -110 to -150.
- 2-12 in their last 14 conference semifinal games.