The San Jose Sharks defeated the Colorado Avs 3-2 in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals to advance to the Western Finals thanks to goals by Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl.
Joe Pavelski, the Sharks captain who missed the first six games of the Avalanche series, rallied back from injuries to score a goal and assist on another. Pavelski suffered a concussion in Game 7 and banged his head on the ice, which required stitches.
The Sharks needed seven games to beat the Las Vegas Golden Knights. They also needed a full seven-game series to knock out the Avs. The Avs/Sharks series was a true zig-zag series with a team winning every-other game. The Sharks won games 1, 3, 5, and 7, while the Avs secured wins during the even-numbered games including a huge double overtime victory in Game 6.
The Sharks will now meet the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference Finals. The Blues who needed heroics from local guy Pat Maroon, to defeat the Dallas Stars in double overtime in their decisive Game 7 the other night.
Avs Bad Beat
The San Jose Sharks won the Vegas series due to a bad call from officials. This time, they advanced thanks to instant replay.
A review negated an Avalanche goal in the second period. It would have evened the score at 2-2. At the time, on-ice officials did not whistle the Avs for off sides. However, a quick scan of the instant replay showed Gabriel Landeskog had not fully skated off the ice during a shift change. Colin Wilson scored a goal, which got reversed by replay officials.
“It’s a clumsy mistake,” said Landeskog. “If I could’ve done something different on that play, I would have jumped the boards a lot quicker.”
Landeskog was on the wrong side of the blue line. With the Stanley Cup on the line, the Sharks did not want to squander an opportunity to get the play reviewed.
Landeskog, the Avs captain, accepted blame for the no goal.
“It’s a tough job. It’s a tough call to make,” said Landeskog. “Hopefully, they got it right. I’ll take the blame for that. Ultimately, it’s my skates on the ice. But there was a lot more to the game than that.”
Without a goal, the game resumed with the Sharks ahead 2-1. The Sharks scored again late in the second period to take a 3-1 edge into the second intermission.
The Avs scored a goal in the opening minutes of the third period, thanks to their young center Tyson Jost. However, the Avs could not come up with an equalizer the rest of the period. The Sharks held on for a 3-2 victory.
On Deck: Blues vs. Sharks
The St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks will be fighting to represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Boston Bruins will be facing the well-rested, but banged up Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Blues and Sharks will begin their series on Saturday in San Jose.
With four teams remaining, the St. Louis Blues are the team to beat with +125 odds to win the Stanley Cup. The San Jose Sharks are +250 to win the NHL championship.