Sharks Rebound to Down the Avalanche, 4-2
By John Mossman
Before the game, the crowd observed a moment of silence for the victims of the Columbine High School tragedy.
It was the Avalanche's first game at McNichols Arena since the shootings. The first two games of the Western Conference series, originally scheduled in Denver, were postponed, and the series opened in San Jose instead.
The loss was the first for Colorado after winning two in San Jose. Games 4 and 5 are scheduled for Denver on Friday and Saturday nights.
Ricci had a goal and three assists Wednesday night.
Ricci, who scored in the first period, helped put the Sharks ahead at 9:52 of the third period when he stole the puck from Adam Deadmarsh at the blue line and fed Sturm, who beat Patrick Roy from the right circle.
Barely three minutes later, Ricci, who played on Colorado's Stanley Cup championship team in 1996, shoveled the puck ahead to Sturm on a breakaway, and Sturm's second goal made it 3-1 at 13:08.
Adam Deadmarsh cut the deficit to 3-2 with a power-play goal at 18:09 while goaltender Patrick Roy was off the ice, but San Jose's Owen Nolan then scored into an empty net at 19:21.
Sharks goalie Mike Vernon had 34 saves and Roy turned in 29.
After Colorado failed to score on four straight power plays early in the first period, San Jose went ahead 1-0 on its first power-play opportunity.
Ricci, battling Colorado defenseman Greg de Vries just left of the goal, deflected Jeff Norton's long shot past Roy at 15:18.
A sprawling Roy avoided further damage late in the period, robbing Stephane Matteau on a point-blank shot.
The more active, aggressive Sharks outshot Colorado 15-8 in the period.
Colorado killed off a 5-on-3 penalty for 1:24 of the second period, and a half-minute later Peter Forsberg made it 1-1 with a controversial goal.
Theoren Fleury came out of the penalty box, took control of the puck and fed Forsberg. Forsberg, being ridden down by Mike Rathje, took a shot that was deflected by Vernon. But as Forsberg slid head-first toward the right post, he appeared to punch the puck with his glove into the net.
Vernon protested, but referee Lance Roberts ruled it a goal after consulting with the replay official.
Vernon made a diving save to rob Milan Hejduk early in the third period, and Nolan missed an open net when Roy and defenseman Aaron Miller came out to cut down his angle on a breakaway.
© Copyright 1999 The Associated Press