It's win or wait 'til next year
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It’s been nearly two months since the Avalanche lost two games in a row, March 11-15 to Carolina and Anaheim. Now wouldn’t be a good time to do so.
It’s win or go home for the offseason Monday when the Avalanche play San Jose at the Pepsi Center in Game 6 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series.
The Sharks grabbed a 3-2 series lead Saturday at the SAP Center in San Jose with a 2-1 win. Philipp Grubauer made 37 saves, a career best in the postseason, but the Avalanche didn’t provide much support.
Their only goal was credited to Tyson Jost with 2:59 left in the second period when a deflected puck hit him and bounced behind Sharks goalie Martin Jones (21 saves) for a 1-0 lead.
It didn’t last long. Tyson Barrie took an ill-advised interference penalty against Evander Kane with 1:06 left in the period and Tomas Hertl tied the game with a power-play goal with 20 seconds to go.
Hertl scored again at 6:26 of the third period, and that was that.
San Jose leads series 3-2
All times Mountain Time
G1 – San Jose 5, Avalanche 2
G2 – Avalanche 4, San Jose 3
G3 – San Jose 4, Avalanche 2
G4 – Avalanche 3, San Jose 0
G5 – San Jose 2, Avalanche 1
G6 Monday 8 p.m. – at Pepsi Center
*G7 Wednesday TBD – at San Jose
The Avalanche’s top line of Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen combined for five shots. Landeskog and Rantanen had two each, MacKinnon one (four of his shots were blocked and he missed the net on three others).
Colorado went 0-for-3 on power plays and has gone 2-for-17 in the series.
The teams have alternated wins and losses in the series, a trend that has to continue if the Avalanche are going to force a Game 7 in San Jose on Wednesday.
Coach Jared Bednar, who after the game said the Sharks outworked his team, on Sunday told reporters he wants the Avalanche to have more of an attack mode mindset and to produce more shots on goal.
“We’ve got some hungry guys here, we don’t want to go home yet,” he said. “It’s an elimination game, so I think you’re going to see our team come out and compete hard. It’s a fine line and you need someone to make a play and put the puck in the back of the net.
“And you need goaltending. We had goaltending (Saturday), and that’s why the score was as close as it was.”
Forward Matt Calvert didn’t play Saturday because of an undisclosed injury, but he likely aggravated the upper-body injury in Game 4 that prevented him from playing in Game 3.
Sharks forward Joe Pavelski was scheduled to travel to Denver with the team on Sunday. He has been skating and told reporters he is feeling better after sustaining head injuries against Vegas in Game 7 of their first-round series.
It isn’t known how close he is to playing.
"That's a good question," he said. "You'd like to think you could play tomorrow. But we're going to be smart, obviously. Definitely getting closer. Feel like I'm getting closer. Feel like I want it."