Avalanche Mash Sharks in Game 5|
By Ray Van Horn, Jr. Copyright 1999
After a miserable 7-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks the previous evening, the Colorado Avalanche blasted the Sharks out of McNichols Sports Arena 6-2, taking a 3 games to 2 lead in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
Colorado, apparently embarassed by the previous evening's collapse, charged out onto the ice with an obvious determination to send a statement to San Jose.
They traded breakaway scoring opportunities with San Jose during an entertaining first period, finally posting a shorthanded netter by Peter Forsberg at 4:32. Forsberg had intercepted an errant San Jose pass in his own zone and streaked away for the goal past Sharks' goalie Steve Shields, who misjudged the play, leaving an easy target for Forsberg.
The second period saw a parade of the Colorado elite lay waste to a crumbling Sharks defense and waning Steve Shields, dismantling them for four goals.
The Sharks received a temporary stay of execution as a Claude Lemieux power play strike was denied by the officials, who detected Adam Deadmarsh in Shields' crease. For San Jose, it was a short-lived reprieve.
The Avalanche got the scoring party rolling on a Theoren Fleury power play goal at 11:15. Joe Sakic dumped the puck into the Sharks' zone as Claude Lemieux's shot was deflected to Fleury, who grabbed the rebound for his 63rd career playoff goal.
Fleury assisted Joe Sakic on a Shark turnover by Mike Rathje, leaving Shields easy prey to give Colorado a 3-0 lead at 12:55. It got worse for the Sharks, who had exploded on Colorado in Game 4, but appeared impotent in Game 5.
In the same period, Claude Lemieux notched his 74th playoff goal at 13:44 as he traded passes with Peter Forsberg to nab the score. Goalie Patrick Roy was also given an assist on the play.
With a tenth of a second left in the period, Adam Deadmarsh unleashed a slapshot to bring the Colorado lead up to 5-0.
The Sharks finally got on the board at 4:35 of the third period as Stephan Marleau caught Patrick Roy on the power play, giving his team a brief hurrah.
However, Theoren Fleury connected for the second time in the game, ripping a shot through Steve Shields' legs at 8:27, raising the damage to 6-1.
The Sharks picked up a token goal at 19:36 of the third from a Bill Holder wrist shot, capping the game at 6-2.
The game was dotted by vicious Colorado checks and numerous fights, making this series ugly as the scene shifts to San Jose Arena on Monday for Game 6.
Copyright©1999 The HockeyNut