Tuesday, May 07, 2002

Sharks 6, Avalanche 4

AP Sports Writer

        SAN JOSE, Calif. — A hard lesson from videotape brought Sharks captain Owen Nolan to life in the playoffs.

        Nolan had not scored a goal through the Sharks' first seven playoff games. On Monday night, he scored twice to lead San Jose past the Colorado Avalanche 6-4.

        A video session Sunday proved instructive.

        “It was a lot of little things, but they add up,” he said. “You're looked upon by your team to score goals, and I haven't been doing that. I came here tonight determined to do something about it.”

        Patrick Marleau scored the tiebreaking goal in the third period, beating Patrick Roy from the top of the left circle on a power play with 6:34 left to give the Sharks a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference semifinal. Game 4 is Wednesday at San Jose.

        With six goals and four assists, Marleau has a point in each of the Sharks' eight playoff games.

        “I'm getting a lot of bounces,” he modestly said.

        Rob Blake scored two goals for the Avalanche, who had won five straight in San Jose, dating to Jan. 25, 2000. Roy turned away 34 San Jose shots.

        In the only other conference semifinal Monday, Ottawa edged Toronto 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead. The other two series resume Tuesday night. Detroit, which won the first two games at home, plays at St. Louis. Carolina is at Montreal with the series 1-1.

        Evgeni Nabokov, who was pulled Saturday in San Jose's 8-2 Game 2 loss, stopped 29 shots. The Sharks had just one penalty to Colorado's seven.

        “It definitely made a difference in the way we played,” Avalanche coach Bob Hartley said. “Being shorthanded takes you away from your game plan and you have to give your penalty killers more ice time. You should give them credit for scoring the big goals on the power play when they had the opportunity.”

        Teemu Selanne tied it for the Sharks with a power-play goal 3:31 into the third.

        The Sharks had a 5-on-3 advantage early in the period when both Blake and Stephane Yelle were penalized. Just as Yelle's holding penalty ended, Selanne hit a perfectly angled shot from the right side that slid under Roy.

        Blake set the tone with a goal just 59 seconds into the game. Blake hadn't practiced Sunday and played only 14 minutes in the second game — he scored two goals — because of a sore leg. He missed Game 1.

        The Sharks nearly tied it later in the first period. Vincent Damphousse appeared to bunt a bouncing puck over Roy's shoulder and into the net. But, amid the roar of the crowd, one official apparently had blown his whistle. According to the explanation, the official lost track of the puck, negating the goal.

        Thornton took a feed from Mike Ricci and shoved the puck under Roy from the top of the crease to tie it before the period was over. It was Thornton's third playoff goal.

        Nolan scored his first goal of the playoffs 3:20 into the second. Roy came way out of the net to send the puck back down the ice, but made a bad clear. Nolan took advantage with a 45-foot shot that went between the goalie's legs and into the net.

        Just a little more than two minutes later, Nolan took a bouncing shot that caromed off Adam Graves' stick to make it 3-1.

        Blake scored his second goal less than three minutes later. Nabokov was tied up in the net with Nolan, who had fallen behind him.

        The Avalanche tied it with Alex Tanguay's power-play goal with 4:11 left, then went ahead with just more than a minute to go in the second on Peter Forsberg's wraparound goal.

        Nabokov questioned the goal, but it was allowed.

        “It was a roller-coaster ride tonight,” Colorado forward Dan Hinote said. “We made a big comeback, but we couldn't control the momentum swing.”


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