DENVER -- Elimination games never seem to worry the Colorado Avalanche.
Patrick Roy is the reason.
Roy stopped 27 shots to make Peter Forsberg's goal in the second period stand as the defending Stanley Cup champions beat the San Jose Sharks 1-0 Wednesday night in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Roy extended his own league record with his 22nd career playoff shutout and tied a record with his 11th Game 7. He is 6-5 in Game 7s, but has allowed a total of two goals to win the last four -- three of which have been in the Avalanche's last three playoff series.
''I said before Game 6, if there is one player I'm not worried about for Game 7 it's Patrick,'' Colorado coach Bob Hartley said. ''He's our energy, he's the reason that every game we feel that we have a chance to win. He came up large tonight.''
Colorado reached the conference finals for the sixth time in seven years. The Avalanche will face the Detroit Red Wings in a matchup of the West's top two teams during the regular season.
Game 1 is Saturday in Detroit.
San Jose won a division title for the first time this season, but lost two straight games in failing to reach its first conference finals.
The Sharks scored one goal in the final two games to blow a 3-2 series lead for the second time in franchise history. San Jose also lost the final two games of the 1994 conference semifinals to Toronto.
''This team deserves better than this. We had a great season,'' forward Teemu Selanne said. ''I hope when we get a chance like this again, we remember how this loss felt.''
San Jose had a two-man advantage for the final 55 seconds after pulling goalie Evgeni Nabokov and a tripping penalty was called on Colorado's Rob Blake, but couldn't get past Roy.
Roy blocked a hard shot from the right circle by Mike Rathje, then stopped Selanne from the left side with 9 seconds left. Joe Sakic won a faceoff in Colorado's zone with 4 seconds left to seal it.
''You don't get younger with those, for sure,'' Hartley said.
Forsberg scored with 2:10 left in the second on a give-and-go with Alex Tanguay.
Forsberg flipped a no-look pass to Tanguay just after crossing into the Sharks' zone, and Tanguay quickly sent it back to him between the circles. Forsberg seemed to lose the puck just before he reached the crease, but flipped in a shot under Nabokov's blocker.
It was Forsberg's sixth goal of the series and extended his points streak to seven games. He left for the locker room midway through the third period after Selanne chopped at his left wrist, but returned four minutes later.
''Anytime something like Peter's goal happens, you are going to get some energy and momentum from that,'' Colorado defenseman Greg de Vries said. ''He's playing unbelievable right now.''
San Jose should have had a goal five minutes into the game after a mistake by Roy, but Selanne missed an open net on a wraparound attempt.
Roy dived to stop a bouncing puck to the right of the net, but it squirted from under his glove behind the net. Selanne skated around to the left side before Roy could get up, but his backhander slid across the front of the goal. Roy covered the puck after it hit his leg.
''I didn't know how much time I had,'' said Selanne, who scored three goals in the series. ''It would have been a different story if I would have scored. When you have chances like that you have to bury them.''
San Jose had plenty of good chances after that, but Roy was just too good.
Roy gloved a one-timer by Owen Nolan from the left circle, and stopped another shot by Nolan in heavy traffic a few minutes later. In the second period, he rose up to stop Selanne's flip shot and stuffed Patrick Marleau's one-timer from close range.
Roy has allowed three goals the last six times Colorado has faced elimination, including one in a 2-1 overtime victory in Game 6 Monday against the Sharks.
''I worked very hard in the first five games and if you work hard, sometimes good things happen,'' said Roy, who allowed 17 goals in the first five games. ''I was a bit more focused and intense tonight, and it was good enough to win this game and the series.''
Nabokov, playing in his first Game 7, was strong early.
He nearly did the splits to stop Chris Drury from close range midway through the second period, then stopped three successive chances a few minutes later after the Sharks couldn't clear the puck.
Nabokov also stopped a backhander by Drury midway through the first, and did the splits to stop a shot by Forsberg with his right leg in the third.
Notes: Olympic gold medal speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno waved Colorado's banner during introductions. ... The home team is 66-38 in Game 7s since the best-of-seven format was introduced in 1939. ... Forsberg, the leading scorer in the playoffs with 19 points, had six goals and seven assists in the series. ... Roy tied Scott Stevens and Doug Gilmour for most Game 7s all-time. ... San Jose's Adam Graves lost for the first time in a Game 7 (5-1).
Peninsula Clarion © 2016. All Rights Reserved. | Contact Us