Avalanche Clinch Series in Overtime, 3-2
By Anne M. Peterson
Rookie Milan Hejduk scored 13:12 into overtime Monday night as the Colorado Avalanche beat the San Jose Sharks 3-2 and advanced to the second round of the playoffs.
Hejduk beat goaltender Mike Vernon from out in front of the crease, rebounding Joe Sakic's shot.
The Avalanche, who came into Monday's game with a 3-2 advantage in the series, won all three of the games played in San Jose.
The Avalanche won the first two games in San Jose in a series that was delayed three days because of the school shooting at Columbine High School in suburban Denver.
The Sharks rebounded to win the next two games in Denver to even the series, but the Avalanche finally won at home Saturday to take a 3-2 advantage into Monday night's game.
In the overtime, the Avalanche killed off a four-minute penalty after Dale Hunter was sent off for high sticking 1:55 into the extra period.
Jeff Friesen beat screened Colorado goalie Patrick Roy from just out in front of the crease with 11:51 gone in the third period to give the Sharks a 2-1 lead. Roy, who stopped 27 San Jose shots, held up his hands in disbelief.
But the Sharks' celebration was short-lived. Colorado defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh, a former Shark, grabbed a loose puck and beat Vernon between the legs with 6:31 left in the third period.
The Sharks missed a chance in the last minute of the period when Roy turned away Jeff Norton's shot as he was falling to the ice.
Vernon finished with 30 saves.
After both teams went scoreless in the first period, Theo Fleury rebounded Peter Forsberg's shot underneath Vernon's outstretched right leg to give the Avalanche a 1-0 lead with 12:52 gone in the second. Fleury was suddenly hot in the playoffs after starting the series rather quietly. He had his first two goals in Colorado's 6-2 victory Saturday in Game 5.
The Sharks tied it up with 3:31 left in the period on Bill Houlder's power play goal, a hard shot from the left circle that sailed over Roy's shoulder and into the net.
The Sharks were stung midway in the third period by injuries. Defenseman Marcus Ragnarsson was slammed against the boards by Colorado's Chris Drury and left the game with a bruised leg. Teammate Marco Sturm had left the ice minutes earlier with a jaw injury.
Roy got his 103th playoff victory.
© Copyright 1999 The Associated Press