Five Observations After Sharks' Important Game 3 Win Vs. Avalanche

Only one team will end up with 16 Stanley Cup playoff wins, and the Sharks now have 6 under their belt after a 4-2 win in Game 3 over the Avalanche. This second-round series against Colorado continues to be more about speed and skill than the physical element we saw in the first round against Vegas.  

Here are some takeaways considering what we've witnessed, and where things could be headed as the Sharks have a two-games-to-one lead in the best-of-seven series.

Couture's hatty

Logan Couture's hat trick (and first three goals of Round 2) propelled him into elite company in the playoff goal department.  Since the 2010 postseason, only Alexander Ovechkin (50) has more tallies than Couture (43), who is one ahead of Sidney Crosby (42) and Patrick Kane (41).

To see Logan's name with those peers says a lot about how clutch No. 39 has been in nine of the last ten Stanley Cup playoffs. Also, it can't be forgotten -- he scored two of the four monumental goals in that Game 7 comeback against Vegas.

Steady Jones

Martin Jones was a non-story again, and that's a huge compliment.  Last round, at this point, he was already under intense scrutiny for the quantity and timing of goals that the Golden Knights were getting.

But since Game 5, and even with a loss in this round, Jones has not faltered or regressed one bit.  It's not that Colorado overly-tested San Jose's goalie in Game 2, just that Jones was solid when he needed to be.

And oh yeah, Jones (and the defense) allowed two goals or fewer for the 37th time this season, remaining undefeated when that occurs. 

Avs' streak ends

Game 3 was Colorado's first home loss since March 15 against Anaheim. They had won eight in a row at the Pepsi Center and almost made it to May with the streak intact.

All of a sudden, Game 4 becomes imperative for the Avalanche to win. If they fall again, Jared Bednar's squad would be heading back on the road facing elimination.  

Winning without Pavelski

Now that we are nearing the "halfway" point in this best-of-seven series against the Avalanche, it's worth mentioning that the Sharks are finding this fair amount of success minus their captain and leading goal-scorer from the regular season.  Joe Pavelski was scheduled to skate today in San Jose, which is the first great step forward in his recovery from that gruesome head injury he suffered in Game 7 of the first round.

Take any other team's leading goal-getter away at this juncture and it must be asked: Would they still be playing as well as the Sharks are right now?

[RELATED: Pavs FaceTimed Sharks after Game 3]

Sharks confident

The big picture looks promising for San Jose in this series.  We're not granting them two more wins already, but they have to be confident about the majority of their nine periods against Colorado thus far.

The main frustration points after Game 3's 4-2 win came in fours: as in 0-4 on the Power Play, and the four posts hit by Burns, Labanc, Vlasic, and Melker Karlsson respectively.  

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