Patrick Marleau (SJ) unleashed a one-time shot on net against David Aebeischer (COL) who extended and miraculously made a glove save, adding fear that this would be another dominant performance. Evgeni Nabokov left his crease to play the puck behind the net, but Andrei Nikolisin beat him to it and fed a pass to Serge Aubin who buried a one-time shot on the virtually empty net, provide the Avalanche solace and the Sharks embarrassment. For the fourth time in five games, the Sharks had conceded an early 1-0 lead.
Derek Morris (COL) then rang an innocent shot off the far side post, and the Avalanche continued their early period pressure in an attempt to break Evgeni Nabokov (SJ). Teemu Selanne (CJ) then broke into the Avs zone and fed a cross-ice pass to Adam Grave, who roofed a backhander past the outstretched David Aebischer (COL) to tie the game at 1-1. Andrei Nikolishin (COL) then took a hooking penalty against Brad Stuart, and Dan McGillis (CJ) fired a cross-ice pass to a wide open Adam Graves (CJ), but somehow David Aebischer (COL) denied his attempt. Brad Stuart (SJ) then fed Vincent Damphouse (SJ) to carry the puck in the Avs zone and then return feed to Stuart who buried the powerplay goal for the first Sharks' lead since Game 3. The 1st Period ended with the Sharks (SJ) outshooting the Avs 7-5.
Teemu Selanne (SJ) took advantage of an early Vincent Damphousse (SJ) faceoff win to break in alone and fire a backhand shot on Aebischer (COL), who stretched out his right pad in another splendid save to keep the Sharks' lead at only 2-1. However, fortunes reversed when Niko Dimitrakos (SJ) broke in and beat Aebischer's (COL) pad with his own backhand shot to extend the Sharks' led to 3-1.
Peter Forsberg, Joe Sakic and Milan Hejduk (COL) continued their lines' offensive dominance with incredible puck possession in the Sharks' zone, but Evgeni Nabokov (SJ), seemingly in a redemptive effort from the Game 4, made steadfast and obstinate saves to maintain the Sharks' lead. The Sharks' main objective since the collapse of Game 3 was to ensure the blockage of the nefarious Peter Forsberg (COL) from the scoresheet - Nabokov (SJ) guaranteed that objective through the first two periods of action.
Adam Oates (COL) then took a hooking penalty against Alexander Korolyuk (SJ) to give the Sharks another powerplay, but it was Adam Foote (COL) who was bestowed the first ensuing scoring chance, as he broke in alone and wristed a shot that was convincingly stopped by Nabokov (SJ). The Sharks then went on the offensive, with back-to-back one-timers by Patrick Marleau (SJ) being stopped by Aebischer (COL), who seemed unfazed by his prior inconsistencies. Colorado managed to kill off the remainder of the penalty unscathed, but they immediately took another when Peter Forsberg (COL) committed another hooking penalty on Alexander Koroyluk. Vincent Damphousse released a turnaround shot that rang off the crossbar and away from the net. Marco Sturm (SJ) then took a cross-ice fed from Kyle McLaren (SJ) and one-timed a backhander past Aebischer (COL), who stretched but left the top of the net wide open. Lynn Loyns (SJ) ended the period by crossing the front of the Colorado crease, turning around and releasing a slapshot that Aebischer (COL) couldn't handle to give the Sharks a 5-1 lead heading into the 2nd Intermission. The Sharks handily outshot the Avas 22-10 through two periods of play, their best defensive effort since the masterful performance of Game 2.
The Sharks allowed their third and fourth lines to inexplicably match up against the indefatigable first line of the Avs, and somehow the gambit proved fruitful. Brad Stuart (SJ) then skated in, beat Paul Kariya's backcheck and lifted a backhand shot past Aebischer (COL) to solidify the Sharks' lead at 6-1. Stuart registered his first two-goal game of the playoffs, and the Shark Tank witnessed the largest Sharks' lead of the series since the route of Game 2. Solid defensive positioning and concerted offensive effort provided the Sharks with further opportunities, including an awry Vincent Damphousse (SJ) chance that ended up in the stands. Alyn Mccauley (SJ) also released an ill-fated backhand opportunity that Aebischer (COL) shrugged off, and Bates Battaglia (COL) saw his own back-to-back shots denied with a confidence that Evgeni Nabokov (SJ) had not exhibited this series. The Sharks' stifled any Avalanche attempts at a comeback, outshot the Avs 28-15, and took the game 6-1 to give themselves a 3-2 series lead. The following players were selected as the three stars of the game:
3) Serge Aubin (COL) Registered 1 Goal, 0 Assists and +0
2) Marco Sturm (SJ) Registered 1 Goal, 0 Assists and +1
1) Brad Stuart (SJ) Registered 2 Goals, 0 Assists and +2
Colorado Avalanche 1
San Jose Sharks 6
San Jose Leads Series 3-2
This was the third series lead change, and the Sharks will look to close out the series on the road when they visit the raucous Pepsi Center, where the voracious Avalanche faithful will hope to witness a prelude to a Game 7. Game 6 is scheduled to be broadcast on Tuesday, June 9th at 7:00PM Pacific Standard Time.