In their last two tries at Pepsi Center, the Sharks have missed tangible opportunities. Game 4 could have seen the San Jose grasp a 3-1 series lead, but instead, they were shutout. Game 6 could have seen the Sharks advance to the Western Conference Final, but instead, we have a second round in a row tied at three.
Here are some takeaways from this matchup approaching Game 7.
An old, familiar feeling
It's been a long while since the Sharks had back-to-back seven-game rounds. To the tune of 25 years, in that famous 1994 postseason run, the first in franchise history. It's a crazy realization that precisely three weeks ago, San Jose was down 3-1 to Las Vegas and the thought of a Game 7 was euphoric. Here in Round 2, the approach of another dual-elimination contest comes with frustration. But it also should arrive with confidence. The Sharks have been good on home ice for several years versus Colorado, and with the exception of Game 4, have yet to post a real "stinker" here in Round 2.
Going against instincts
Game 6 fit the "unexpected" narrative of these Stanley Cup Playoffs. Outside of Brent Burns, who could have predicted the other regulation goal-getters would be Tyson Jost, J.T. Compher (2), and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (2)? In addition, consider Gabriel Landeskog: who was a -3 player on the night, until he buried the game-winner less than three minutes into overtime. If you're still trying to gamble on what happens next, we advise going against all real instincts.
Taking the alternate route
Just like San Jose and Colorado traded goals in Game 6, the Sharks and Avalanche have alternated wins and losses in this series. Nobody has won twice in a row. One noticeable trend in the last several outings is a Sharks team that's getting quality chances, and looking strong, but it's just not being depicted on the scoreboard. Scoring hasn't come nearly as often for Team Teal as it could or should in the last few games, and to take it another step -- their offensive width and depth of the regular season aren't being completely showcased here in Round 2.
The positive trend about this Sharks team in 13 postseason games would be their resilience. San Jose has come back from multiple-goal deficits in games and a 3-1 series hole in Round 1. Even here in the second round, they've continually responded to Avalanche markers in timely fashions. San Jose hasn't shown much panic, and haven't shown any quit. And hopefully, some of the great adversity they faced against Las Vegas serves them well with a season on the line Wednesday night.
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With or without Pavelski
The Joe Pavelski speculation is already underway, but don't expect to get many details about his potential availability for Game 7. Only a very small circle within the Sharks staff are going to know his true medical status and potential impact versus the existing lineup. The ultimate decision has a lot of variables to consider and will likely be made by a group in regards to what's best for the Captain, and what's best for his team.
Keep in mind that (if cleared, and healthy) Pavelski won't have seen game action in more than two weeks, and would be re-activating under the circumstances of an elimination contest. My only suggestion would be that: if healthy enough, taking warmups at the very least would serve as one heck of a decoy in the final moments approaching Game 7.