Tomas Hertl scored his second goal of the game with 13:34 remaining in the third period and the San Jose Sharks went on to beat the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 in Game 5 on Saturday night to take a 3-2 lead in their Western Conference semifinal series.
Hertl tied the game with a power-play goal in the final minute of the second period and then delivered the go-ahead score early in the third for his first two goals of the series after recording six in the first round.
Martin Jones made 21 saves as San Jose held Colorado star Nathan MacKinnon to one shot on goal and ended his points streak at eight games.
The Sharks will look to clinch the series in Game 6 on Monday night in Colorado.
Tyson Jost scored the lone goal for the Avalanche, who were on their heels for most of the night. Philipp Grubauer made 37 saves.
Hertl was the beneficiary of sustained offensive pressure for his tiebreaking goal early in the third. Joonas Donskoi made a deft stickhandling move to get the puck to Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who put a shot on net. Hertl was parked in front and was able to knock in the rebounds to the delight of the home fans.
The cheers only grew louder at the next break in play when injured captain Joe Pavelski came out to the tunnel to wave a towel for the appreciative fans. Pavelski hadn’t been seen at the Shark Tank since his bloody concussion in Game 7 of the first round against Vegas that helped spark an epic third-period rally from three goals down.
Pavelski resumed skating earlier this week and the Sharks are hopeful of getting him back on the ice if they can remain alive for a bit longer.
Jones did his best to make that possible when he preserved the one-goal lead with strong play in the net, stopping Tyson Barrie twice at point-blank range.
The Sharks came out with far more energy than they had in the Game 4 loss in Colorado, putting eight of the first nine shots on net and appearing to take a 1-0 lead on Kevin Labanc’s shot from the slot. But trailing referee Tim Peel was signaling for a high stick on Timo Meier before the puck went in the net, negating the goal.
Both goalies then came up with big saves late in a physical period that featured plenty of hits and a few scrums. Jones robbed Matt Nieto on one end and Grubauer made two tough stops on the power play against Hertl.
The Sharks didn’t let up in the second and were outshooting the Avalanche 27-13 just after killing back-to-back penalties only to give up the first goal of the game on an unfortunate bounce. Jones stopped J.T. Compher off the rush and Brent Burns tried to clear the rebound from in front but knocked it off Jost and into the net for a goal instead.
That sapped some energy out of the crowd that was brought back a couple of minutes later when Hertl deflected Logan Couture’s shot from the top circle for a power-play goal with 19.4 seconds left. That ended a scoring drought of 100:10 for San Jose in the series.
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