Preview: Sharks at Avalanche
The San Jose Sharks are aware that they'll likely see the best of an opposition with its backs to the wall, because they were in the same position in the previous round. The Sharks look to fend off the Colorado Avalanche and advance to the Western Conference finals on Monday when the teams play Game 6 in Denver.
"We faced three elimination games against Vegas (in the first round). We didn't go away easily, and I don't anticipate (Colorado is) going to either," San Jose coach Peter DeBoer told reporters on the heels of Saturday's 2-1 victory in Game 5. "This feels good. We put ourselves in a good spot with a chance to do that (advance), but we'll put on the work boots and put in a lot of work in order to do that in Denver." Tomas Hertl recorded his second multi-goal performance of the 2019 playoffs and third of his postseason career when he tallied twice on Saturday, however he has collected just one of his 12 points on the road. Colorado's Nathan MacKinnon saw his point streak halted at eight games while captain Gabriel Landeskog was held off the scoresheet for the fourth time in the series. "We would have liked to go home leading 3-2, obviously, but the reality of the matter is, we're not so we have to win a hockey game at home," the 26-year-old Landeskog told reporters.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, CBC, Sportsnet, TVA
ABOUT THE SHARKS: Logan Couture collected an assist on Hertl's power-play goal in the second period to provide a jolt to a club that had converted on just one of its first 10 opportunities with the man advantage in the series. "That was as good as we've looked on the power play in this series, and kind of just felt that one was going to find its way in there," said the 30-year-old Couture, whose 13 points (NHL-best nine goals, four assists) are tied for the scoring lead with Boston's Brad Marchand and Avalanche forwards MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen. Much-maligned Martin Jones turned aside 21 of 22 shots on Saturday, improving his save percentage to .936 over the last eight games.
ABOUT THE AVALANCHE: Colorado's potent top line registered 41 shots on goal in the previous four contests before being limited to five on Saturday, with MacKinnon having just one on net after four were blocked and three sailed wide. "They have a plan to play against (MacKinnon) like we do against some of their other guys," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar told reporters. "And I don't know if it's anything different, but their guys worked (Saturday) and they checked hard on that top line and I didn't think the top line was great for us (Saturday). They'll have to be better." Rantanen has recorded multi-point performances in three of Colorado's four home games, including a two-assist effort in Thursday's 3-0 win in Game 4.
1. Colorado G Philipp Grubauer owns 3-1 mark with a 1.69 goals-against average and .945 save percentage at Pepsi Center in the 2019 playoffs.
2. San Jose D Erik Karlsson set up Hertl's first goal on Saturday, giving him a team-best four power-play assists.
3. Avalanche D Tyson Barrie has been held off the scoresheet in four of the five games in this series.
PREDICTION: Avalanche 3, Sharks 2