San Jose takes Game 1

Posted: Thursday, May 02, 2002

DENVER -- Colorado's momentum was no match for San Jose's rested legs.

Teemu Selanne ended his playoff slump by scoring twice, and Evgeni Nabokov stopped 27 shots as the San Jose Sharks beat the Colorado Avalanche 6-3 Wednesday night in the Western Conference semifinals.

Colorado was hoping to use the energy from its 4-0 victory over Los Angeles on Monday, but came out flat to lose the first game in the best-of-seven series.

San Jose, which had five days off after beating Phoenix in the first round, took advantage of Colorado's short turnaround by pressuring the defending Stanley Cup champions early.

The Sharks took 3-0 lead, withstood a rally from the Avalanche and put it away with two goals in 2:46 of the third period.

''We knew they were tired and used the momentum to get the second goal,'' said Selanne, who had not scored in the playoffs after leading the Sharks with 29 goals during the regular season.

''Even when we led 3-0 we knew they would come back. They got back to 3-2 and we played a solid third period.

''They didn't have much time to rest.''

Colorado didn't match San Jose's energy early and couldn't make up for the loss of Rob Blake.

Blake, Colorado's second-leading scorer during the regular season and a finalist for the Norris Trophy, did not play due to an undisclosed leg injury. Avalanche officials listed him as day-to-day.

''There's no excuses,'' Colorado coach Bob Hartley said. ''We simply didn't use the energy we built up from Game 7. It's very disappointing. Our decision-making wasn't there and we looked like the team didn't play for a week.''

San Jose's Mike Ricci took advantage, scoring 6:13 into the game after a feed by Niklas Sundstrom from behind the net slipped through the crease. Patrick Roy couldn't reach the pass with his stick and Ricci one-timed it past him as Ricci was falling. It was Ricci's third of the playoffs.

Selanne made it 2-0, beating Roy to the glove side with a hard shot from the right faceoff dot after beating Greg de Vries into the zone.

Selanne put the Sharks up 3-0 midway in the second, one-timing a pass from Marco Sturm from behind the net between Roy's pads.

''I know chances will come when you play hard,'' Selanne said. ''This team is special because we have such depth in scorers. Tonight was my turn and someone else will step up the next game.''

The Avalanche seemed finished at that point, but rallied around a lucky bounce that ended Nabokov's scoreless streak in the Pepsi Center at 176 minutes, 37 seconds.



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