The Sharks and Avs took turns with early offensive threats. Peter Forsberg (COL) was uncharacteristically quiet, as was Patrick Marleau (SJ), his San Jose scoring counterpart. A tense first few minutes belied the importance of this game - one team hoping to extinguish a rivalry, another hoping to extend it.
Colorado took the early penalty to break the stalemate - Paul Kariya (COL) took a hooking penalty against Jonathan Cheechoo (SJ), and a Sharks powerplay that established dominance in the regular season and this series took to the ice to break and early tie. However, Colorado's defense refused to be broken and saves by David Aebischer (COL) only verified what was already expected - that the first period would be tight. Alexander Korolyuk (SJ) was set up for a one-time backhand shot that appeared clearly headed for the top of the net, but Aebischer (COL) incredibly stretched and denied it. Mike Rathje (SJ), perhaps out of frustration, took a cross checking penalty on Dan Hinote (COL), and the subsequent kill was nullified by a hooking penalty by Adam Foote (COL) on Marco Sturm (SJ). The resulting faceoff saw Aebischer (COL) deny a backhand shot by Scott Thornton (SJ), and at the other end of the ice Evgeni Nabokov (SJ) made an equally impressive glove save against Milan Hejduk (COL).
Previous goal scoring techniques employed by the Sharks failed at every turn. Wraparound attempts were stuffed by solid goaltending and obstinate defense. Cross-ice passes were nullified with interceptions. And breakaway attempts proved all but futile.
On the opposite side, the avalanche failed to muster any convincing threat to the defense of the Sharks and the redemption odyssey of Evgeni Nabokov (SJ). Subsequently, the period ended as a 0-0 stalemate for the first time all series.
Solid defensive efforts again force shots from afar and broken plays from both sides. Evgeni Nabokov (SJ) made an early impressive save on Dan Hinote (COL) and another break-in shot by Paul Kariya (COL), who seemed all but possessed early in the period to break the stalemate.
Marco Sturm (SJ), then broke out of the Sharks' zone on a clean breakaway and scored a backhand goal that fooled David Aebischer (COL). Patrick Marleau (SJ) then responded as he had all series - with a quick goal to energize the Sharks further, this time on a backhand wraparound attempt. The Avs' Matt Johnson then took a third Colorado hooking penalty. Teemu Selanne (SJ) entered the Colorado zone, stopped up, turned and fired a pass to Vincent Damphousse (SJ) who was standing at the front of the net, reminiscent of a similar goal they scored in Game 5. Joe Sakic (COL) then broke in alone for Colorado in a comeback attempt, but his patented wrist shot rang off of the far post. Sharks' captain Patrick Marleau (SJ) answered with an attempt of his own, a backhand shot that also rang off of the far post. The score remained 3-0 Sharks, and remained that way to the 2nd Intermission, despite the Avalanche outshooting the Sharks 14-13.
Alexander Korolyuk (SJ) took a pass from Kyle McLaren (SJ) off of the opening faceooff of the period, skated behind the defense and buried a shot by David Aebischer (COL) to end his night and give the Sharks a convincing 4-0 lead against a battered Colorado team. Even the top line of Sakic, Forsberg and Hejduk failed to manifest much, and when Rob Blake (COL) managed to break in alone against Evgeni Nabokov (SJ), he too was denied.
The Avs began pressuring the Sharks in the meekest attempt at a comeback, but they were unable to thwart the Sharks' defense in front of Evgeni Nabokov, who appeared to return to his pre-postseason form. The Sharks counterattacked with rushes in the Colorado zone, but were unsuccessful in beating Phillipe Sauve (COL) when he entered the game. However, a breakdown in the Avs' defense on a faceoff led to Mike Ricci (SJ) having the puck all alone in front of the net. Ricci shot the puck high and Sauve proved too slow to respond, extending the Sharks' lead to 5-0 and give Ricci his first goal of the playoffs. The game would end with Scott Hannan (SJ) entering the Colorado zone and firing a cross-ice pass to Scott Thornton (SJ), who buried a one-timer to give the Sharks a 6-0 lead and victory. The Sharks outshot the Avs 25-19 in the game, and the following players were selected as the three stars of the game:
3) Patrick Marleau (SJ) Registered 1 Goal, 1 Assist and +2
2) Marco Sturm (SJ) Registered 1 Goal, 0 Assists and +3
1) Evgeni Nabokov (SJ) Registered 19 Saves on 19 Shots On Goal
San Jose Sharks 6
Colorado Avalanche 0
San Jose Wins Series 4-2 and Advance to Western Conference Semifinals
The Sharks started the series from an unexpected 1-0 series deficit, but managed to pull themselves together to dominate Game 5 and Game 6 and outscore Colorado 12-1 combined in those two games. Evgeni Nabokov, unreliable in Games 1 and 3, came back strong and ended the series with a shutout. The Sharks will move on to the Western Conference Semifinals to face the Dallas Stars, whom the Sharks were 6-0-0 against during the regular season. The game is scheduled to be broadcast on Thursday, June 11 at 7:00PM Pacific Standard Time.