Pavelski tallied a goal and an assist in his return in the Sharks' 3–2 Game 7 win to earn a spot in the Western Conference Final.
The 7s have certainly been lucky for San Jose. The Game 7s, that is.
In the first round, the luck came in the form of a five-minute major when Joe Pavelski was cross-checked and landed on his head (which Pavelski said himself wasn’t worth the major penalty). The Sharks scored four goals in four minutes and eventually won in overtime to secure a spot in Round 2, where they found themselves in a winner-take-all matchup against the Avalanche on Wednesday. This time, the luck came in the form of an overturned goal thanks to a slow line change from Gabriel Landeskog resulting in an offside call.
Down a goal midway through the second, Colorado thought it had tied the game when Derick Brassard intercepted the puck in the neutral zone and pushed it up to Nathan MacKinnon, who delivered a pass to a wide-open Colin Wilson for a one-timer. Outside of the play, however, Landeskog was in the midst of a line change and was standing on the ice just inside the blue line as the puck entered the zone, negating the goal. Instead of getting even, the Avalanche would watch the Sharks score just five minutes later and San Jose would go on to win 3–2 to advance to the Western Conference Final.
Pavelski made his return from his gruesome head injury—which he confirmed to reporters after the game was a concussion—and consequently made his return to the scoresheet. About six minutes into the game, Brent Burns took a shot from the point, which Pavelski deflected to give San Jose an early lead. And while the Sharks saw their top goal-scorer from the regular season return, the Avalanche temporarily lost theirs. Nathan MacKinnon went to the locker room just two minutes into the game after crashing into the boards while trying to gain possession, grabbing his shoulder as he skated toward the bench. He returned with about five minutes left in the first, and had a good breakaway opportunity on Martin Jones shortly after.
Tomas Hertl doubled San Jose’s lead midway through the first, but Colorado cut into it with 6.8 seconds left in the period when Mikko Rantanen scored on a deflection. The Avalanche’s overturned goal came in the second, which Sharks winger Joonas Donskoi responded to when he wrapped around Philipp Grubauer’s net and scored on a wrist shot to make it 3–1. The Avalanche came out dominating in the third, and scored less than a minute in, but the Sharks pulled away with the win and will face St. Louis in the Western Conference Final. The Blues are coming off a Game 7 win of their own after outlasting the Stars in double overtime on Tuesday night.
The Avalanche were looking to make their return to the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2002, when they had to beat the Sharks in a Game 7 to get there. History wouldn’t repeat itself 17 years later, but Colorado has plenty to look forward to after putting together a strong season and surprising playoff run.