Sharks shake off slow start, roll to 5-2 victory in Game 1

San Jose takes a 1-0 lead against Colorado

Ryan Covay
April 26, 2019 - 10:10 pm

After dispatching the Las Vegas Golden Knights in a series that will live long in the collective conscious of this team, tonight the Sharks began their next test in the form of the upstart Colorado Avalanche. They would begin that examination without their Captain Joe Pavelski, still on the mend from a harrowing injury in Game 7 versus Vegas.

They scored 3 goals in the final 10 minutes of the 2nd period, highlighted by Game 7 hero Kevin Lebanc's beautiful stick handling display and top shelf finish that gave the Sharks their first lead of the series at 3-2.

On paper the San Jose Sharks are deeper than the Avs. But the Colorado challenge is real. They suppressed the Pacific Division winner, Calgary Flames in just 5 games in Round 1. They came in rested, confident and with a handful of house money.

The real question in this series will be can the Avalanche continue to play spoiler or will the Sharks improbable rally from 3-1 down to the Golden Knights be the catalyst for a deep run.
Early on, Colorado looked the part of the upstart getting an early goal on Martin Jones. The Sharks looked to still be feeling the effects of that long and emotionally charged series. But San Jose, no stranger to erasing deficits this postseason, showed plenty of push back as they rallied after trailing 1-0 and 2-1 in this game.

In order for the Sharks depth to be a true advantage in the series, they will need to get contributions from guys like Lebanc. More help came in that department by way of trade deadline acquisition Gustav Nyquist getting his first playoff goal as a Shark in the 1st period.

After 20 years in the league, Joe Thornton is still seeking that all elusive Stanley Cup. His 1,566 career regular season games are the most among active players without a Cup and you have to wonder if this will be his last chance. He has been leading in the room and on the ice scoring a decisive game tying goal in the 2nd period and adding an assist.

Martin Jones has been wildly inconsistent but the reality is this team will only go as far as Jones will take them. After allowing an early goal, he went on to stop 24 of the final 25 shots, making several key saves throughout the night and earning the Game's 2nd star.

Moving forward, the health of Pavelski will be key to monitor as eventually they will need his offense. But Head Coach Peter DeBoer is getting contributions from his top 3 lines, his blue line and at least for tonight his goaltender answered the call.

The playoff bracket is wide open as top seeds Calgary, Winnipeg, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and defending Cup Champion Washington all went out in the First Round. The Sharks could not have asked for a better path.

They will look to put a stranglehold on this series Sunday when they play Game 2 at the Tank.

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