They say that momentum in the playoffs does not carry over from game to game. Tonight’s Game 5 proved exactly that as the San Jose Sharks defeated the Avalanche 2-1 to put Colorado on the brink of elimination heading back to Denver.
The Avalanche scored the first goal for the third time in the series, but were dominated for a majority of the evening. San Jose outshot the Avs 39-22, keeping Colorado from recording a shot in the final 90 seconds of regulation.
Colorado will look to answer back for the third time in this series, as the two teams will head back to Denver for Game 6 at 8 pm MST on Monday at the Pepsi Center.
What did we learn from Game 5?
- Goaltenders Philipp Grubauer and Martin Jones are suddenly becoming the two best players in the series. The Avalanche and Sharks combined for 20 goals through the first three games of the series. But over the past two, Colorado has solved Jones three times and San Jose has put two past Grubauer. The goaltenders have a combined 115 saves on 120 shots, with Grubauer stopping 69 of them.
- Special Teams were the deciding factor once again. The power-play goal from Colin Wilson early in the third period on Thursday was enough to take San Jose completely out of the game. Tonight, San Jose used the man-advantage to tie the game with just 19 seconds remaining in the second period. The first of two from winger Tomas Hertl was the turning point, as the forward added another goal early in the third. San Jose was 1-for-5 on the power play and a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
- Nathan MacKinnon’s point streak comes to an end. The superstar centerman had recorded at least one point in each of the Avs’ eight playoff games since the shutout loss in Game 1 against Calgary. Tonight he was held to just one shot, which came in the third period, and was a non-factor against the Sharks’ top defensemen.
- Colorado is 0-2 with Matt Calvert out of the lineup. The first-year Avs forward missed Game 3 after taking a massive hit from Sharks blueliner Brent Burns in the final moments of Game 2. After playing and helping the Avs to a 3-0 win on Thursday, Calvert was kept out of the lineup once again. Tyson Jost was moved up to the second line between wingers Alexander Kerfoot and Colin Wilson, dropping forward J.T. Compher to line three in Calvert’s spot. Sven Andrighetto was reinserted into the lineup, playing alongside Gabriel Bourque and Derick Brassard on the fourth line.
- It’s win or go home for the Avs on Monday. Colorado is on the brink of elimination for the first time this year and will need a win on Monday to extend the series. If the Avs pull through, they’ll be faced with a Game 7 scenario, which they have not won since the second round of the 2002 playoffs. That victory sent the Avalanche to the Western Conference Final for the sixth and final time since relocating to Denver in 1996. Their opponent 17 years ago? The San Jose Sharks.