The Colorado Avalanche lost to the struggling San Jose Sharks on Thursday night after returning home from a successful five game road trip.
The team got off to a strong start, opening the scoring in the first period when Chris Stewart caught San Jose’s goaltender Antero Niittymaki behind the net, setting up Kyle Cumiskey for his first goal of the season (and Stewart’s fourth assist).
The Avalanche played a fast-paced, physical game, but penalties kept the team from getting into any kind of rhythm. When all was said and done, the team was called for seven penalties, disappointing head coach Joe Sacco with their lack of discipline. The Avalanche also had seven penalties during the team’s last outing against the New York Rangers on Monday.
“It was a well-played game, but the second period we take four penalties in a row and against that team in this league, you can’t do that,” Sacco said afterwards. “It’s two games in a row now where we’re taking too many unnecessary penalties. To me, it simply was the difference in the game tonight.”
Matt Duchene was sent to the penalty box three times during the contest, including once late in the third period.
“We need to stay out of the penalty box,” said Duchene. “During 5-on-5 play, we held it together. We can’t expect to win short-handed. We need to be more careful.”
San Jose Sharks forward Joe Pavelski scored two goals, earning him the game’s first star of the game.
“The team played good tonight,” he said. “We knew there were going to be a few mistakes, but we worked hard and kept it simple.”
A controversial empty-net goal sealed Colorado’s fate. The puck was shot out of the San Jose zone and hit a linesman giving the Sharks a chance to nab the puck and send it into the empty net.
Defenseman John-Michael Liles thought that the puck had bounced off a player on the San Jose bench, but the refs did not agree.
“It’s going to happen during the course of a season. Calls are going to be missed.”
Liles also had an assist on Milan Hejduk’s power play goal giving him at least one point in each of Colorado’s seven games, a franchise record for the beginning of the season.
“It’s a nice thing to be in the company of guys like Sandis Ozolinsh,” said Liles. “As far as the assists go, I’m getting the puck to guys who are scoring a lot of goals.”
The Avalanche captain Adam Foote left the game after the first period with an unspecified head injury. There is no information as to the severity of the injury or whether he will be able to play on Saturday when the Avalanche host the Los Angeles Kings.