The Colorado Avalanche - San Jose Sharks playoff series goes to Game Five Thursday night at the HP Pavilion. Despite four hard-fought games, the series is virtually even.
-The series is tied at two games each.
-Each team has won once on the road, something
that did not happen during four games in the regular season.
-Each game has been decided by one goal.
-Each team has scored 9 goals.
-The last three games have gone to overtime.
There are three big differences:
-The Sharks never had the lead in the first three games. They did not take the lead until their first period goal in Game Four.
-The Sharks have outshot the Avalanche 174 to 103.
-The Avalanche have been called for 24 penalties,
the Sharks 16.
Goaltending has played a big part in the series. Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson has been outstanding. His 165 saves are a main reason that the Avs are in the series.
Evgeni Nabokov has not fared as well in the Sharks net. He allowed 5 goals on 18 shots in Game Two, allowing the Avalanche to keep the lead for 59:28.
Coming into the series, the top-seeded Sharks were favored over the eighth-seeded Avs, though the Sharks recent history of playoff failures loomed over them. The Avs were a young team expected to finish at the bottom of the NHL, so making the playoffs was a bonus.
Yet the Avs went into San Jose and won the series opener and proved to themselves that they could hang with the Western Conference champs. If not for giving up the tying goal with 32 seconds left in Game Two, the Avs could have gone into Sunday's game with a 3-0 series lead, with the chance to win the series at home.
With the series even after Game Four, it now becomes a best-of-three battle with two games in San Jose. The Avs have to win at least one game in California as well as their home game Saturday.