Five Sharks Observations After Game 2 Loss as Series Shifts to Denver

While a 2-0 series lead would have felt commanding, the Sharks travel to Denver on Tuesday tied at one with Colorado in their second-round best-of-seven series.  All things considered, you might have expected San Jose to drop Game 1 and rebound in Game 2, when in fact it was the exact opposite.  

The Sharks weren't disastrous on Sunday night, but simply they couldn't capitalize on early momentum and extend their Stanley Cup Playoff win streak to five.

Here are five observations from the Sharks' Game 2 loss.

Better team won

The final score accurately depicted gameplay. The Sharks were superior in the first twenty minutes - to the point where they should have held more than that 1-0 lead.  But credit goes to Colorado, who was the better team in the second period and beyond while San Jose seemed to lose some steam.  The Sharks hope history doesn't repeat itself for the Avalanche, who lost their first game to Calgary before making changes and swept the rest of the first-round series.

Jones still solid

Martin Jones still looks good for San Jose.  The scoreboard says the Avs scored four goals, but he was only in net for three.  That is not far from the famous "two or fewer" slogan, where the Sharks are still undefeated in 36 tries this season. There's no question that Jones regained some confidence starting with Game 5 of the first round.

While this is his first loss since surging - it doesn't appear that he has lost any steam when you consider how and where Colorado scored their goals.

Injury concerns?

Although it was good to get Micheal Haley back from his ankle injury, the body language didn't look good for Melker Karlsson, who absorbed a third period check in the corner boards then went to the bench without much favor for his right arm. Losing another forward in this series would begin to test the Sharks' depth, who are already without Pavelski and Donskoi.

In the case of Pavelski, he was present on Sunday night at SAP Center - which has to be seen as an inspirational factor for his teammates, if nothing else.

Burns' big hit

Brent Burns laid an absolute blast on Matt Calvert late in the third period. Unfortunately, when Calvert was violently separated from the puck, it feathered to Gabe Landeskog who continued skating North and buried the empty netter. It turned out to be the night's deciding goal.

Going back to the hit - it deserves special attention in an age where every obvious contact play is evaluated for targeting the head. But there's no question this one was clean, which is a statement to Burns and his tact in being physical. The question is, did it engage a more physical presence from Colorado, which is something we haven't seen much of in the first 120 minutes?

[RELATED: Sharks pay on icing no-call; Vlasic awaits NHL's apology]

Denver bound

Now that the series shifts to Denver for two games, there are some unique questions. Let's start with the obvious: altitude factors. Are the Sharks at a physiological disadvantage to likely get "winded" quicker? Some of the Sharks' best hockey in this series involved short shifts and puck possession, however, which would likely be a solid counter to the elements.

Also, the factors of matchups and last change present themselves at Pepsi Center. How will Avs coach Jared Bednar dictate how his players match up against the Sharks' depth?

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