Philipp Grubauer collected his first career playoff shutout, and Nathan MacKinnon, Colin Wilson and Erik Johnson all scored as the Colorado Avalanche claimed a 3-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night in Denver to even their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series.
Game 5 of the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal will be Saturday night in San Jose.
Needing a victory to prevent ending up on the brink of elimination, the Avalanche executed a perfect game plan to even the series at two wins apiece. Colorado played with speed and tightened up defensively en route to a crucial win.
To top it off, Grubauer made 32 saves, maybe his biggest in the waning seconds of the second period when he stretched out his right leg to deny Gustav Nyquist on a partial breakaway. He also held the fort in the final period while the Sharks pushed to get on the board and back in the game.
On offense, the Avalanche benefited from a balanced attack.
MacKinnon opened the scoring just past the midway point of the second period.
Sharks goalie Martin Jones made a dandy stop on Mikko Rantanen’s deflection of Cale Makar’s point shot, but MacKinnon batted the rebound a couple of times before he put the puck into the net for his sixth goal of the playoffs. MacKinnon is riding an eight-game point streak in which he’s netted 13 points — most among playoff performers this year.
Wilson doubled the lead with a power-play goal 3:11 into the third period, finishing a scramble that was highlighted by Rantanen’s slick pass that allowed him to deposit the puck into an open net.
Johnson rounded out the scoring with an empty-netter with 69 seconds remaining. He found the mark all the way from the boards in his own zone, taking advantage of stout defensive play from the third line.
Jones stopped 25 shots for the Sharks.
—Field Level Media