WCQF Game 6: Pavelski shines with 2 goals, assist — Sharks down Avalanche 5-2 and advance to Semifinals

By Jon Swenson - Last updated: Sunday, April 25, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

The San Jose Sharks closed out the WCQF with a 5-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche Saturday night at the Pepsi Center. Clutch center Joe Pavelski scored 47 seconds into the game, added an assist on Dan Boyle’s game tying goal, and roofed the game winner 9:02 into the third period. Devin Setoguchi and Douglas Murray added empty net goals, and Evgeni Nabokov stopped 16 of 18 shots against to advance the Sharks to the semis.

Two trending themes remained constant throughout this series. The San Jose Sharks stressed a message of overcoming obstacles. That came when Marek Svatos and Brandon Yip erased a 1-goal lead. Svatos drove around Joe Thornton on the left wing, who stopped skating just long enough for him to turn the corner. With Murray and Boyle focused on covering players yet to reach the goal mouth, Svators cut across the crease and deposited the puck in the back of the net on a diving shot. Yip gave the Avalanche their only lead of the game 4:51 into the third period on a hard cross ice feed by Paul Stastny.

The Avalanche threw cauton into the wind all series, but injuries to key players and the physical toll exacted by San Jose started to have an impact. The Avs had no answer for the puck possession style of 6-foot-2, 225-pound Ryane Clowe. Clowe sent a fluttering puck across the goal crease in the second period, and was a screen twice on the scoring sequence by Dan Boyle to tie the game. Clowe plowed defenseman Kyle Cumiskey to the side of the crease, allowing a Dany Heatley shot to ring off the crossbar. He then made a b-line for a screen in front of Craig Anderson. Dan Boyle’s heavy point shot beat Anderson gloveside to tie the game at 2-2.

The Clowe-Pavelski-Setoguchi line finished as the hottest line of the game, and the hottest line of the series. On Saturday night they combined for 3 goals, 3 assists, 9 shots on goal, and a +11. Pavelski’s intial goal in the first period came on a solid individual effort behind the net. He battled defenseman Kyle Cumiskey for body position, then snapped a wraparound that beat Anderson 5-hole. Pavelski’s game winning goal 9:02 into the third period came on a variation of the “Pavelski move” normally unleashed in the shootout. On a 2-on-1 rush with Devin Setoguchi, Pavelski fumbled the puck on his patented hesitation shot. He regained control, and roofed the puck over a Craig Anderson who was clearly thinking 5-hole. The Sharks scored two goals in 1:29 to earn a 3-2 lead.

The Avalanche called a timeout with 1:46 left in the game, and pulled Craig Anderson for an extra attacker. Devin Setoguchi worked the puck free from a pile along the half boards, and scored on an empty net to effectively seal the win. Douglas Murray scored a second empty net goal 21 seconds later.

Evgeni Nabokov turned in another solid performance in goal. His toughest save came on a first period one-timer by former Hobey Baker winner Kevin Porter. After making a hard push across the crease to his right, Cody McLeod fell on the prone Nabokov with a hard elbow. No call. Nabokov also made key stops on Paul Stastny and Marek Svatos. He finished with 16 saves on a minisule 18 shots against. “He has one of the best glove hands in the league, and it has been on display all series long,” CBC analyst and former goaltender Kevin Weekes said after a highlight reel Nabokov glove save in the second period.

On the physical side of the ledger, 5-foot-9, 180-pound Scott Nichol lead both teams with a game high 6 hits. He launched T.J. Galiardi sideways with a huge hit in the neutral zone in the first period, and followed that up with a big hit on defenseman Kyle Cumiskey in the second. Kyle Porter answered for the Avalanche with a check that sent Nichol hurtling towards the ice later in the period.

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