SAN JOSE -- The Sharks certainly came out guns blazing in Game 2 of their Stanley Cup playoff second-round series Sunday night. But the visiting Colorado Avalanche contingent was able to swing the momentum in its favor, thanks to a surging top line, and defeated the Sharks 4-3 to even the series at one game apiece.
Here are three takeaways from Game 2 of the best-of-seven series at SAP Center:
Power play continues to have an impact
For better or for worse, really. San Jose had two opportunities on the power play after jumping to a 1-0 lead but couldn’t convert to add to its score. The Sharks sure could have used a power-play marker as a cushion when Colorado’s top line took over and scored two goals in the second period.
Just like it was a key in the first round, San Jose’s success on the power play could be a difference-maker against Colorado. Even though they’re missing Joe Pavelski on that top unit, the Sharks still should have enough firepower to convert on more chances against the Avalanche's penalty kill.
Colorado’s top line came to play
The Sharks were able to contain the Avalanche’s explosive top line in Game 1, but they were not as successful in Game 2. Avs coach Jared Bednar reunited Mikko Rantanen with Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog, and the combo instantly had an impact on the game. They teamed up with defenseman Tyson Barrie to register both of Colorado’s second-period goals, making both look easy.
The Sharks must be better at taking the ice away from MacKinnon. San Jose already knows how fast he is, so taking space away from him is its best bet at keeping him and his linemates from getting on the scoreboard.
Energy management will be a factor
While the Sharks got off to a much quicker start in Game 2 than they did in Game 1, they sat back on their heels and gave the Avs the opportunity to swing things in their favor. Even with some nice push in the third frame and two late goals from Brent Burns, San Jose’s dip in the middle of the game cost them.
Keeping the energy level up also could go a long way toward helping Martin Jones. No. 31 had another solid performance in net for the Sharks, and helped keep Colorado from running away with the game. But with Philipp Grubauer also playing well at his end of the ice, the Sharks will have to tighten up in front of Jones if they plan to take back control of the series.