The San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche needed extra time to find a winner in their first meeting of the season. The Avalanche carried long stretches of play in front of rookie netminder Spencer Martin making his NHL debut. The Sharks, on the other hand, were looking for their rhythm much of the contest before pulling out the late win.
“I think we realized this was a little bit of a trap game. It was hard from an energy point of view for us today. Mentally, we gave them the proper amount of respect. We prepared the right way, said Sharks head coach DeBoer. “This was a tough energy game, and they’re a fast team. I think that combination of our energy down, and their speed made it a hockey game.”
The Avalanche were the better team in the first period of action and nearly got on the board first in the early going.
Nikita Zadorov wristed a shot on Martin Jones which trickled through him. Brent Burns alertly fished the puck off the goal line and out of danger and kept scoresheet clean.
Avalanche defender Francios Beauchemin took the game’s first penalty with a high-sticking call at 4:16. The Sharks first line would get the job done when Joe Thornton passed the puck through the goal crease of Spencer Martin to Joel Ward for the re-deflection power-play goal.
#SJSharks control the puck on 2/3 of their PP entries and the end result is a lot of zone time and a goal.
— Chris (@chrisjws) January 22, 2017
The Avalanche were handed their first power-play when Justin Braun hooked Mikko Rantanen as he drove the net. Colorado’s man advantage lasted all of three seconds as Matt Duchene headed off for a face-off violation. The Avalanche continued to threaten and had deflections and bounces all around Martin Jones, but were unable to break through. Spencer Martin had a chance to get his first NHL point in his first game in the last seconds of the period as his long pass found Matt Duchene with the Sharks changing. Duchene lost the handle on the puck and time expired.
The second period featured more even play between the two teams.
At 6:24 of the second, Gabriel Landeskog laid a scary hit from behind on Justin Braun in the right end boards. Luckily for San Jose, Braun was able to get to his feet and skate to the bench while Landeskog skated to the penalty box.
The Avalanche tied the game 1-1 on a broken play. Nathan MacKinnon skated into the Sharks’ zone and pulled up for a shot that was misfired but pinballed to a crashing Mikhail Grigorenko for his fifth of the season.
The Sharks answered back with the third goal from the fourth line in the previous three game. Cody Goloubef tried to pitch the puck out of the zone but instead, it went right to the stick of Ryan Carpenter, who rifled the puck on goal and Melker Karlsson deflected it past Martin for a 2-1 lead.
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) January 22, 2017
The Avalanche continued to carry play into the third period. Jones made key stops on dangerous chances by Matt Nieto and Blake Comeau and a ringer off the crossbar by Zadorov. The Avalanche tied the score at 2-2 at 10:24 of the period when Beauchemin blasted a puck right by Jones.
The play intensified as regulation ticked down and both referees put their whistles away to let the two teams settle it. But extra hockey time was needed to award the second point as neither team capitalized on late chances to get the win in regulation.
The extra frame was over quickly. After Joe Thornton passed, literally, on a prime scoring chance about a minute into overtime, the line of Kevin Labanc, Logan Couture and David Schlemko all combined for the game-winning goal. Labanc passed the puck to Logan Couture, who’s shot bounced out of Martin’s glove and Schlemko put home the rebound to the left of the Colorado net to give the Sharks the 3-2 win.
“You need your depth guys on nights like this. we’ve ridden our big guys pretty hard and played some tough minutes and some of the opponents we played, Los Angeles and on and on,” said head coach Peter DeBoer following the win. “Tonight’s a game you look to your depth guys to step up and provide some energy and I thought we got that.”
SJS – Joel Ward (5) (Power Play) Assisted by Joe Thornton and Marc-Edouard Vlasic
COL – Mikhail Grigorenko (5) Assisted by Nathan MacKinnon and Cody Goloubef
SJS – Melker Karlsson (5) Assisted by Ryan Carpenter
COL Francois Beauchemin (2) Unassisted
SJS – David Schlemko (2) Assisted by Logan Couture and Kevin Labanc
THW Three Stars
First Star: David Schlemko (Game-winning goal)
Second Star: Joel Ward (goal)
Third Star: Spencer Martin (27 saves)
San Jose Sharks vs. Colorado Avalanche
Pepsi Center –7:30 PM MST on Jan. 23
Broadcast Channels: CSN-CA, ALT2
Jan. 21: Sharks 3 – Avalanche 2