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Big-time rally

Damphousse leads Sharks to series-tying 7-3 win over Avs

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Posted: Tuesday May 04, 1999 12:40 PM

  Jeff Norton and the Sharks have helped instigate an Avalanche of losses for Shjon Podein and Colorado. AP

DENVER (AP) -- The formidable two-game deficit is gone. The rejuvenated San Jose Sharks can afford to get a little greedy.

Vincent Damphousse scored two short-handed goals in the final period as the Sharks guaranteed themselves another home playoff game with a 7-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night.

The best-of-7 Western Conference series is tied at two games apiece. Game 5 is in Denver on Saturday night with Game 6 scheduled for Monday in San Jose. The visiting team has won all four games.

"We feel really good about our situation now," Damphousse said. "It's a lot better than coming in here two down. We know we're going back to San Jose, and we want to be in a good position going there. Our key now is to win the game [Saturday] and have a chance to win [the series] at home."

In tying the series, San Jose handed Colorado its fourth straight home playoff loss dating to a first-round collapse against Edmonton last year. Up 3-1 in that series, the Avalanche lost two at home and one on the road.

"We got embarrassed," Colorado captain Joe Sakic said. "We can't worry about what's happened in the past. We have the best-of-3 and two games at home. We have to make sure we take advantage of that."

Alex Korolyuk had a goal and two assists for the Sharks, who trailed 2-0 midway through the second period, but scored the game's final four goals -- all coming within a 10:07 span of the third period.

The Avalanche, who played a sloppy final 20 minutes, finished 0-for-7 on the power play, committed three turnovers that led to San Jose goals and find themselves battling to get out of the first round.

"They outplayed us in the third. I'm obviously not satisfied, but the last thing that we need right now is to panic," Colorado coach Bob Hartley said. "We said from the start that it would be a hard-fought series, and that those guys wouldn't go down easily."

Mike Vernon finished with 32 saves for San Jose. Patrick Roy stopped 19 of 25 shots before being pulled late in the final period.

Korolyuk gave the Sharks a 4-3 lead 1:54 into the third as he controlled the puck behind the net and then squeezed a shot between Roy and the right goal post.

The Avalanche had a chance to tie the game on their fifth power play of the night, but Damphousse chased down his own clearing pass for a short-handed goal on a breakaway 2:23 later.

Damphousse made Roy look silly as he faked a backhand shot and put a forehand into the open net when Roy went to his knees.

"It's my only move," Damphousse said. "Sometimes I shoot, and you try to throw different things at goalies. I beat Patrick tonight, but a lot of times he stopped me, so it's not always the same scenario."

Mike Ricci, who had four points in Game 3, scored on a rebound at 8:55, and Damphousse completed the meltdown as he stole the puck and beat backup goaltender Craig Billington at 12:01.

"We played 30-35 minutes," Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said. "It sure is embarrassing. We should be real upset about ourselves."

Despite squandering a 5-on-3 advantage to open the second period, the Avalanche seemingly had the game in control after Foote's backhander gave them a 2-0 lead at 4:53.

The momentum shifted when Tony Granato picked off Roy's clearing pass at the blue line, skated around defenseman Greg de Vries and beat Roy at 9:38.

"That goal gave us a spark," Sharks coach Darryl Sutter said. "... You can say all you want about the great character of our team. This team is talented and it shows up for every period."

Bill Houlder tied the game on a power play 28 seconds later when his shot from the slot went between Ricci's legs into the net.

Colorado regrouped as Theo Fleury corralled a rebound in the right circle and set up Milan Hejduk's second goal of the playoffs, but San Jose converted a two-minute 5-on-3 to tie the game 1:59 before the second intermission.

Adam Deadmarsh scored the only goal of the first period as Colorado outshot San Jose 9-3.

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