Joe Pavelski had a goal and an assist upon his return from injury, helping the San Jose Sharks advance to the Western Conference Final with a 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche in Game 7 of their Second Round series.
Pavelski missed the first six games of the series after sustaining a concussion in a 5-4 overtime win over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 7 of their first round series on April 23.
Tomas Hertl and Joonas Donskoi also scored, and Martin Jones made 27 saves for the Sharks, who improved to 8-4 in Game 7s, including 5-1 at home.
Brent Burns had 10 points (four goals, six assists) in the series for San Jose.
Mikko Rantanen and Tyson Jost scored, with Phillip Grubauer making 24 saves for the Avalanche, who are 4-7 in Game 7s since relocating from Quebec for the 1995-96 season, including 0-4 on the road.
Colorado appeared to tie the game when Colin Wilson scored from the slot off a Nathan MacKinnon pass at 7:49 of the second period, however, San Jose head coach Peter DeBoer challenged for offside. The video review showed Gabriel Landeskog in the zone ahead of the puck after going off for a change.
After the game Landeskog took full responsibility for the incident saying, “I was just as surprised as anybody. I came off, and all of a sudden two seconds later we score. I didn’t think anything of it to be honest with you. And then we were wondering why they weren’t dropping the puck.” He went on to explain, “Obviously I was still on the ice. We saw some replays on the bench and from what we saw it could have gone either way…. It’s a clumsy mistake, you know. Get off the ice…. If I could have done something different on the play, I would have jumped the boards a lot quicker.”
That wasn’t the only thing that went against the Avalanche. MacKinnon sustained a right-shoulder injury when he lost his balance and fell into the boards at 1:44 of the first period. He went to the locker room at 2:18 and returned at 15:53, but never quite looked like his usual self after that.
Landeskog spoke about what was going through everyone on the Colorado bench’s mind at that time, “It’s your best player that goes off; there’s all kind of emotions and thoughts that go through your mind at that point, especially the second shift of the game.”
In his post match press conference Avalanche coach told media, “Our season is over, it’s tough. We set high expectations for ourselves, and we came up a little bit short. … Our guys worked every day to try to fulfill our expectations. It was a real good series, but they were the better team for too big a portion of tonight’s game, and they won, and they deserved to win.”
DeBoer is the second coach in NHL history to win his first four Game 7s (Tommy Ivan with Detroit Red Wings in 1949 and 1950 Semifinals, and the 1950 and 1954 Stanley Cup Final). He has won three with the Sharks and one with the New Jersey Devils.
San Jose will host the St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final on Saturday at 8pm ET.
Avalanche – Season Over
Blues v Sharks – Saturday, May 11 (8pm, NBC)
ALL TIMES U.S EASTERN