SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA - After enduring a grueling seven-game series in the first round, the San Jose Sharks predictably needed some time to find their legs again at the start of round two. One key penalty kill proved to be just the kick start they needed.
Joe Thornton sparked a three-goal outburst in the second period after San Jose killed off a four-minute penalty, leading the Sharks to a 5-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche in Game 1 on Friday.
“The first period was a struggle to be honest with you,” Thornton said. “I don’t think we had too much early on but we kind of felt our groove as the middle of the game went on.”
San Jose trailed 2-1 when Brenden Dillon was called for a high-sticking double minor. The Sharks managed to kill both penalties and then took over the game with a strong performance from the third line.
“That was a game-changer,” coach Peter DeBoer said. “We needed that. We talked going into the playoffs and after the first round that our special teams were going to have to win us games. We won one with the power play last game and I thought our penalty kill was a big part of it tonight.”
Hurricanes 1, Islanders 0 (OT)
In New York, Carolina’s Jordan Staal scored 4:04 into overtime against the hosts in their Eastern Conference semifinal series opener.