It’s amazing how the storylines can change during a playoff series.
At the end of game three, after the San Jose Sharks dominated the
Avalanche for three periods only to lose 1-0 in overtime, there was talk
about blowing the team up and a curse that is hanging over the
Yet now here we sit, two convincing wins later and
there’s no doubt who the better team in this series is. The Sharks have
taken a 3-2 series lead after a dominant 5-0 victory last night, and now
there’s some consternation building in Denver.
Some of it doesn’t even
have to do with the Avalanche and their effort.
Adrian Dater, beat writer for the Avalanche for the Denver Post,
is not happy, and he has not been pleased all series long with one
particular aspect: the officiating. He
spells it out on his All Things Avs blog:
the Galiardi call all you want, but let’s examine what happened
toward the end of the second period tonight. Cody McLeod cross-checked
San Jose’s Douglas Murray from behind, and into his own goalie and the
right post of the net. That should have been a penalty, granted. But
here’s what the refs did: they gave NO penalty to McLeod. They DID
give a four-minute minor to Scott Hannan, who, for all I saw, was just
trying to act as a peacemaker, trying to grab someone and calm them
down. Happens all the time in NHL scrums. Meanwhile, San Jose’s Travis
McGinn started to PUNCH Avs rookie Matt Duchene, not just once but a few
Dater notes that the Sharks have had 21 power
plays in the series, while the Avs have had just 10. He also makes sure
to point out that he doesn’t believe there is any conspiracy against
the Avalanche, just a series full of poor officiating. If you’ve been
watching all of the games so far in the playoffs, it’s tough to argue
with that sentiment; the officiating has been inconsistent and downright
bad at times.
This is a tough series for Colorado, who are trying
their best to match up with San Jose without two of their top offensive
forwards in the game. Peter Mueller was acquired via trade to add some
offensive firepower to the Avs and to take pressure off Matt Duchene and
Paul Statsny; with Mueller and Milan Hejduk out, Colorado has struggled
to mount any sort of counterattack to what the Sharks are throwing in
Bad officiating or not, Craig Anderson can only
do so much with goal support from his teammates.