San Jose

Sharks Fall Short to Avalanche in Game 2; Series Tied

Not for a lack of chances, the San Jose Sharks on Sunday were unable to hold their early lead and lost to the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 in Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinal matchup at SAP Center.

The Sharks certainly came out guns blazing. But the visiting Colorado contingent was able to swing the momentum in their favor thanks to their surging top line, evening the series up at a game apiece.

Sharks Highlights From the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Here are three takeaways from Game 2:

Power play continues to have an impact: For better or for worse, really. San Jose had two opportunities on the power play after jumping out to a 1-0 lead, but couldn’t convert to add to their score. The Sharks sure could have used a power-play marker as a cushion when Colorado’s top line took over and scored two goals in the second period.

Just like it was a key in the first round, San Jose’s success on the power play could be a difference-maker against Colorado. Even though they’re missing Joe Pavelski on that top unit, the Sharks still should have enough fire power to convert on more chances against Colorado’s penalty kill.

Colorado’s top line came to play: The Sharks were able to contain the Avalanche’s explosive top line in Game 1, but were not as successful in Game 2. Avs’ head coach Jared Bednar reunited Mikko Rantanen with Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog and the combo instantly had an impact on the game. They teamed up with defenseman Tyson Barrie to register both of Colorado’s second-period goals, making both look easy.

Moving forward, the Sharks have to be better at taking the ice away from MacKinnon. San Jose already knows how fast he is, so taking space away from him is their best bet at keeping him and his linemates from getting on the scoreboard.

Energy management will be a factor moving forward: While San Jose got off to a much quicker start in Game 2 than they did in Game 1, they sat back on their heels and gave Colorado the opportunity to swing things in their favor. Even with some nice push in the third frame and two late goals from Brent Burns, San Jose’s dip in the middle of the game cost them.

Keeping the energy level up can also go a long way toward helping Martin Jones out. No. 31 had another solid performance in net for the Sharks, and helped keep Colorado from running away with the game. But with Philipp Grubauer also playing well at his end of the ice, the Sharks will have to tighten up in front of Jones if they’re going to take back control of the series.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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