Labanc's dazzler helps Sharks get lead on Avalanche
Apr 27, 2019
Kevin Labanc scored a highlight-reel game-winning goal, and Brent Burns collected a goal and three assists as the host San Jose Sharks broke open a tie game late in the second period and went on to win 5-2 Friday night in the opening tilt in their second-round postseason series.
Game 2 will be Sunday in San Jose.
With the score tied 2-2, Labanc -- on the heels of his four-point third period in San Jose's thrilling Game 7 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights to finish opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs -- electrified the home crowd and his teammates with four minutes left in the middle frame.
Labanc entered the offensive zone with speed, waltzed around Colorado's Mikko Rantanen while putting the puck through Rantanen's legs, backed off a defender and ripped a top-corner shot.
Burns doubled the lead with one minute left in the period when he sent a shot from his point position that ricocheted off Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar and into the net. Timo Meier iced the game with a final-minute empty netter.
Martin Jones recovered from allowing an early goal in a 26-save performance for San Jose, which was without captain and top goal scorer Joe Pavelski due to a head injury he suffered in the clinching game against the Golden Knights.
Twice the Avalanche took a lead, and twice they surrendered it. Gabriel Bourque opened the scoring 130 seconds after puck drop when he pounced on a juicy rebound, but the Sharks' Gustav Nyquist tied the game with a rebound tally with less than six minutes remaining in the opening frame.
Colin Wilson put Colorado ahead about four minutes into the second period with a power-play goal -- a nifty redirect from the high slot of Rantanen's shot-pass.
But Joe Thornton scored just past the midway point to again even the affair. Marcus Sorensen blocked a shot at his own blue line to create a two-on-one rush that ended with Thornton wiring a wrist shot home after taking a cross-ice pass.
Shortly before Thornton's goal, San Jose killed off a four-minute double-minor high-sticking penalty to keep the deficit at 2-1.
Colorado goalie Philipp Grubauer stopped 22 shots.
--Field Level Media