– While the mystery surrounding the Stanley Cup Playoffs for San
Jose centers on its seeding and first-round opponent, Sunday
night’s opponent, Colorado, is simply working on keeping its
post-season possibility alive.
SAN JOSE – While the mystery surrounding the Stanley Cup Playoffs for San Jose centers on its seeding and first-round opponent, Sunday night’s opponent, Colorado, is simply working on keeping its post-season possibility alive.
The Avalanche, 1-3-1 in the last five games going into Sunday’s game at sold-out HP Pavilion, let another game slip away as Devin Setoguchi scored twice to pace San Jose to a 4-3 win.
The Calgary Flames, a consistent playoff factor in the past several years, defeated Washington Sunday to move to 85 points in ninth pace, just four behind eighth-place Colorado. The Flames have six games left, including a game at Colorado.
San Jose moved to 104 points, four ahead of fellow Pacific Division member Phoenix and five ahead of Chicago in the battle for the Western Conference top spot. Chicago lost to Columbus Sunday.
The Sharks begin their final roadtrip of the regular season Wednesday in Dallas. After games against Minnesota, Colorado and Calgary, San Jose plays at home on Thursday April 8 against Vancouver.
Joe Thornton was out of the lineup with a day-to-day lower body injury, the first game the center has missed in 380 games with San Jose.
After the teams exchanged leads before going into the third period even at 2-2, three goals that ricocheted off either shins, skates or stick blades at the edge of the crease made the difference as the Sharks earned their fourth consecutive win.
Dan Boyle recorded his 15th goal of the season with an unassisted tally 4:32 into the third. When Boyle stole the puck in the right corner of the Avalanche zone, he controlled the puck inside the right circle, waited for someone to pass to before stroking a shot toward the front of the crease. Joe Pavelski was in position at the left post to put in the stuff shot, but the puck bounded off the right skate of Colorado’s Ruslan Salei and past goalie Craig Anderson.
Colorado countered with the equalizer at 9:03. Milan Hejduk started the scoring play off an Avalanche offensive-zone face-off win. Kyle Cuminskey’s shot for the high slot grazed the uniform of teammate Peter Mueller and went under goalie Thomas Greiss.
Pavelski set up the winning goal by controlling the puck at the right post before whipping a shot toward the left post that hit the right shin of Setoguchi and settled inside the goal at 14:11.
Griess finished with 42 saves in recording his seventh win of the year.
Setoguchi earned the game’s first goal when he raced to the front of the net just as Boyle fired a shot from the high slot. The puck hit Setoguchi before finding the back of the net 10:51 into the first period on a San Jose power play.
Colorado pulled even 1:20 into the second when Kevin Porter pounced on a long Greiss rebound and pulled a shot under the netminder from 15 feet out.
Colorado had 1:04 of 5-on-3 but was not successful. Once the first of the two penalties ended, however, Colorado scored with 29 seconds left with the man advantage when Mueller ripped a 20-footer from the left circle off a Matt Duchene feed.
Setoguchi led all players with seven shots on net.