words_Nick Engvall

San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche fans are all too familiar with each other. It may be due to the two teams coming into existence about the same time. The Sharks became a franchise in 1991, while the Avalanche have been around longer, they were previously the Quebec Nordiques until 1995 when the team was moved to Denver, Colorado. Whatever it is, these Western Conference rivals have a distaste for each other that makes for some of the greatest hockey games in the NHL.

It seems as if every year the Sharks and Avalanche seem to find themselves facing off in the playoffs, and nothing is better for the game than repeated battles of a great rivalry. The playoff face-offs between these two teams started back in 2001-2002 when the Sharks won their first Pacific Division title. The Sharks were ousted by the Avalanche in the second round but it took a full seven game series to do so. A rivalry was born.

Nine years later the teams are battling each other again in the first round of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The series has been nothing short of epic.

In four games, three have needed overtime to decide a winner. The only game that didn’t go into overtime was decided in the final 60 seconds by a goal from the Avalanche’s right wing, Chris Stewart. Last night, the Shark’s Joe Pavelski evened up the series at two games apiece with an overtime goal in Colorado. If those stats don’t show the competitiveness of these two teams, then here is another that shows how evenly matched they are, through four games the teams have each scored nine goals.

Sharks, Avalanche, and NHL fans are already aware but if you’re a sports fan, then this is the type of rivalry and competition that keeps you glued to the television and waiting for game five Thursday night in San Jose, California.

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