Sharks Down Avalanche, Even Series
By Aaron J. Lopez
DENVER – Vincent Damphousse scored two short-handed goals in the final period as the San Jose Sharks guaranteed themselves another home playoff game with a 7-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night.
San Jose tied the best-of-7 Western Conference series at 2, handing Colorado its fourth straight home playoff loss dating to a first-round collapse against Edmonton last year.
Game 5 is in Denver on Saturday night with Game 6 scheduled for Monday in San Jose. The visiting team has won all four games.
Alex Korolyuk had a goal and two assists for the Sharks, who trailed 2-0 midway through the second period but scored the game's final four goals – all coming within a 10:07 span of the third period.
The Avalanche, who played aggressive early and sloppy late, finished 0-for-7 on the power play, committed three turnovers that led to San Jose goals and find themselves battling to get out of the first round.
Mike Vernon finished with 32 saves for San Jose. Patrick Roy stopped 18 of 24 shots before being pulled late in the final period.
Korolyuk gave the Sharks a 4-3 lead 1:54 into the third as he controlled the puck behind the net and then squeezed a shot between Roy and the right goal post.
The Avalanche had a chance to tie the game on their fifth power play of the game, but Damphousse chased down his own clearing pass for a short-handed goal on a breakaway 2:23 later.
Damphousse made Roy look silly as he faked a backhand shot and put a forehand into the open net when Roy went to his knees.
Mike Ricci, who had four points in Game 3, scored on a rebound at 8:55, and Damphousse completed the meltdown as he stole the puck and beat backup goaltender Craig Billington at 12:01.
Despite squandering a 5-on-3 advantage to open the second period, the Avalanche seemingly had the game in control after Adam Foote's backhander gave them a 2-0 lead at 4:53.
The momentum shifted when Tony Granato picked off Roy's clearing pass at the blue line, skated around defenseman Greg DeVries and beat Roy at 9:38.
Bill Houlder tied the game on a power play 28 seconds later when his shot from the slot went between Ricci's legs into the net.
Colorado regrouped as Theo Fleury corralled a rebound in the right circle and set up Milan Hejduk's second goal of the playoffs, but San Jose converted a two-minute 5-on-3 to tie the game 1:59 before the second intermission.
Vernon set up the tying goal, finding Patrick Marleau on the right side. Marleau then scored from just outside the crease after executing a give-and-go with Korolyuk.
Colorado, which came out flat in Game 3, looked more aggressive in the first period and took a 1-0 lead on Adam Deadmarsh's slap shot from the slot at 7:27.
The Sharks managed only three first-period shots. Owen Nolen hit the post on a slap shot from the right circle at 3:30, and Roy stuffed Jeff Friesen's shot against the post 11 minutes into the game.
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