Interestingly enough, home ice doesn't seem to have much of an impact either way in this series - the Avalanche stole Game 2 in San Jose while the Sharks returned the favor by winning Game 3 in Denver.
The excitement started early at the Shark Tank with the fans cheering loudly when Pavelski stepped out for warm-ups for his first game back since his bloody concussion in Game 7 of the first round against Vegas. The Sharks led 2-0 just 11:35 into the game and never looked back.
Several San Francisco 49ers players were on hand to watch the Sharks advance to their fourth conference final this decade.
Perhaps supporting the Sharks will give the 49ers a bit of extra motivation to find the postseason themselves in 2019.
Pavelski came out of the pregame skate feeling well and will be in the lineup Wednesday night for the first time since getting hurt in Game 7 of the first round against Vegas.
"It's a clumsy mistake, you know?"More news: Duke and Duchess of Sussex announce son's name is Archie Harrison
Pavelski was injured in Game 7 against the Golden Knights. In 128 career playoff games, he has 46 goals and 49 assists, including two goals and two assists in his seven games this postseason.
I rarely go into skater-vs. -skater matchups when breaking down a game, but tonight's tilt features a mono e mono so compelling that it deserves some column inches. "To have the injuries that he has, coming back, and set up a goal, scored a goal".
There was a deafening roar when Pavelski was announced as a starter and the entire first period became a lovefest for San Jose's captain in what could be his final home game with the Sharks before he can be a free agent this summer. The St. Louis Blues have allowed three or less goals in eight of their last 10 games. "We do have guys that have participated in them in the past". No doubt Colorado has a chance to win, yet, they are 12-22 after scoring four goals or more in their previous game.
Avalanche forward Colin Wilson appeared to score in the second period but was denied after an off-side challenge.
One more update: Here is the official explanation for the ruling on the play: "After reviewing all available replays and consulting with the Linesman, the Situaion Room determined that Gabriel Landeskog did not legally tag up at the blue line prior to the puck entering the offensive zone". "In both Game 7s, I think we played with no fear". "If I could've done something different on that play, I would have jumped the boards a lot quicker".
Colorado's top trio - MacKinnon, Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen, the other marksman in Game 7 - has a lot of prime years ahead, and Sam Girard and Cale Makar have proven at 20 that they are both blue-line blue-chippers. The Blues were eliminated by the Sharks. That is what San Jose has to do, put the pressure on the Avalanche defense and create breakdowns and force Grubauer to be a star, on the road.