Avalanche Buries Sharks, 3-1
By Anne M. Peterson
Fifteen people died, including the two gunmen, in the rampage at the Littleton, Colo., school on Tuesday.
The first two games of the series were supposed to have been played Wednesday and Thursday nights in Denver. But, in response to the tragedy, the start of the series was postponed until Saturday night in San Jose.
The extended layoff after the regular season did not dampen the intensity on either side, but the Avalanche had the edge.
Roy, who claimed his 400th career victory earlier this season, had his 100th playoff victory, an ongoing NHL record.
Former Shark Sandis Ozolinsh added a goal and an assist for Colorado, which finished in second place in the Western Conference behind Dallas.
Sakic scored his 36th career playoff goal and the first of the series with a hard shot from the right point that got past Sharks goalie Mike Vernon 16:16 into the first period. The goal came on a power play as San Jose right wing Joe Murphy served a penalty for goaltender interference.
Colorado went up 2-0 with 5:21 left in the second period on Ozolinsh's power play goal that he rebounded off of Vernon. Ozolinsh leapt into the air after watching the puck hit the back of Vernon's net.
Sakic, who led Colorado with 41 goals during the regular season, scored his second goal at 2:26 into the third period, taking a pass from Milan Hejduk and beating Vernon from the corner of the crease.
The Sharks avoided the shutout 14:05 into the third period with a power play goal against Roy, who until then looked unbeatable.
Vernon, who won the Stanley Cup with Detroit in 1997 and Calgary in 1989, stopped 28 shots for the Sharks, who finished in seventh place in the Western Conference.
San Jose defenseman Andrei Zyuzin was serving the first of a two-game suspension for slashing Anaheim left wing Jim McKenzie on April 17.
Colorado defenseman Alexei Gusarov collided with a teammate midway through the final period and had to be helped from the ice. The nature of his injury was not immediately known.
The sellout crowd at the San Jose Arena observed a moment of silence before the game in memory of the slain students. The Avalanche players wore uniform patches and the Sharks wore helmet stickers bearing the initials CHS for Columbine High School.
After the second game Monday night, the series will move back to Denver for three games.
© Copyright 1999 The Associated Press