Both teams sported their throwback jerseys from the early 1990s for this contest. The Sharks wore their road white jerseys and the Avalacnhe sported their Quebec Nordique jerseys (the team name before the franchise relocated to Colorado and serendipitously won the Stanley Cup in 1996).
San Jose took an early penalty and Colorado unleashed several shots on Evgeni Nabokov that could have resulted in goals, but he stopped them all. The Sharks' aggressive penalty kill and forecheck aided them in neutralizing the early Colorado threat, but Peter Forsberg (COL) then took a pass from Joe Sakic and backhanded a shot from the far side that beat Evgeni Nabokov after the penalty expired, giving the Avalanche another 1-0 lead, their third of the series. Mike Ricci (SJ) then took a tripping penalty to give the dominant Colorado powerplay a second chance to draw blood. While Rob Blake and Peter Forssberg registered chances early that proved why they were both future Hall of Famers, Nabokov was able to keep the puck out and keep the Sharks within striking distance of tying the game. Despite the sheer relentless dominance of Peter Forsberg early in the game, Shark's captain Patrick Marleau scored a shorthanded breakaway goal to tie the game at 1-1.
Martin Skoula (COL) then took a roughing penalty and the Sharks received their first powerplay of the game. Paul Kariya (COL) took advantage of a miscommunication by the Sharks to break in alone on Evgeni Nabokov, and he wristed a shot high the Evgeni Nabokov was barely able to stop with his outstretched glove. The Sharks proved weak on the powerplay, as Colorado outchanced and outclassed them for the duration of it. The period ended 1-1 , but the Avalanche were outshooting the Sharks 14-7 by the 1st intermission.
David Aebishcer (COL) stopped Patrick Marleau (SJ) early on a scoring chance, but the rebound popped right to Marco Sturm (SJ), who fired a wrist shot that appeared to be a sure top-self goal, but Aebischer robbed him with quick glove save as well. Teemu Selanne (SJ) was also denied on a clear-cut scoring chance, and Scott Thorton (SJ), had perhaps the best chance of the game with a one-timer in the slot that Aebischer stretched out and gloved for the best save of the series thus far.
Peter Forsberg (COL), the dominant figure in this series, received a pass from Milan Hejduk that went clear across the Sharks zone, and Forsberg incredibly managed to backahnd the shot past the outstretched pa of Evgeni Nabokov (SJ) to give Colorado a 2-1 lead. Immediately after the ensuing faceoff, a neutral zone turnover led to Andrei Nikolishin (COL) entering the Sharks' zone and feeding a wide open Bates Battaglia (COL) who beat Nabokov (SJ) on the short side to give Colorado a meteoric 3-1 lead. Brad Stuart (SJ) added more issues to the Sharks' defensive game by taking a hooking penalty, but again Marco Sturm (SJ) broke in on David Aebischer (COL), and again his fortuitous attempt at a goal was summarily denied to render the Avs 3-1 lead intact. The Avs then relied on the familiar ability of Peter Forsberg to enter the Sharks' zone, fire a wrist zone from the faceoff circle, and score his third goal of the game to extend the lead to 4-1 for the second time in this series as the Pepsi Center erupted.
Vincent Damphousse (SJ) then broke in on what appeared to be a backhand chance, but Bryan Marchment (COL) hooked his previous teammate to prevent a scoring opportunity and give the Sharks a powerplay. The Sharks' passing seemed suspect, but when it did manage to connect, David Aebischer (COL) proved equal to each and every task. Joe Sakic even broke in alone on a miscue by Evgeni Nabokov (but failed to convert, and shot after shot by San Jose proved futile against the acrobatics of the most obstinate David Aebischer (COL).
At last Adam Graves managed to score a backhanded goal to pull the Sharks to within 4-2, and on the ensuing faceoff Alyn McCauley skated around Rob Blake and scored on a similar backhanded shot to pull the Sharks to within 4-3 of the Avalanche going into the 3rd Period. The Avs were outshooting the Sharks 23-15 by the 2nd Intermission, thanks in large part to the efforts of the atgility and persistence of Peter Forsberg.
Peter Forsberg (COL) continued to amaze as he sliced through the Sharks' defense, glided to the far side of the zone and fed a pass that appeared to be a tap-in for Milan Hejduk, had he been able to handle it.
Rob Blake (COL) inexplicably took a hooking penalty on Jonathan Cheechoo (CJ) as he attempted to enter the Avalanche zone, and Teemu Selanne ((SJ) rang a one-time shot off the crossbar to continue the Sharks' frustrations. Rob Davison (SJ), however, illustrated why he was a rookie of the year candidate when he entered the Avs zone, drew defenders to the short side, and lasered a pass to Patrick Marleau on the far side who snapped a shot past David Aebischer (COL) to tie the game at 4-4 and silence the interminable chants of the Pepsi Center crowd. Lynn Loyns (CJ) later took a pass from Mike Rathje that was quickly denied by Aebischer, and the back and forth action continued as the Sharks and Avs railed against their tentative stalemate. The Sharks, hoping to completed the comeback, continued aggressive play with breakout passes and hard shots, but poor line management and lack of overall consistency, coupled with a staunch Colorado defensive effort, rendered most of the Sharks' attempts null.
The stalemete continued into the waning imutes o f the 3rd period, even when Joe Sakic broke in alone and almost converted his own rebound into the potential game-deciding goal. However, all was forgotten when
Dan Hinote (COL) released a seemingly innocuous shot on net that Evgeni Nabokov (SJ) saved, but, either thrrough confusion or panic, Nabokov lost track of the puck and it ended up in the Sharks' net in perhaps the most ignominious moment of the series. The Sharks pressured Aebischer (COL) with shots for the tying goal, but it failed to materialize and, for only the second time all year, the Sharks lost a game on the road. The Avalanche outshot the Sharks 27-22 for the game, and both teams converted on 1/3 powerplay opportunities. The following players were selected as the three stars of the game:
3) Dan Hinote (COL) Registered 1 Goal, 0 Assists and -1
2) Patrick Marleau (SJ) Registered 2 Goals, 0 Assists and +0
1) Peter Forsberg (COL) Registered 3 Goals, 0 Assists and +1
Colorado Avalanche 5
San Jose Sharks 4
Series Tied 2-2
The series will return to the shores of California and the Shark Tank, where 18,000 fans will hope for better fortunes for the team in teal. The game is scheduled to be broadcast on Monday, June 8th 2020 at 7:00PM Pacific Standard Time: