11/15 sharks 4, COLORADO 3
What a fitting way to end the road trip. Being outplayed for the majority of the game, the Sharks were able to hang in just enough to pounce when the time was right, and in the third, it was as right a time as ever. Just as the last one ended in Florida, the Sharks PP was able to come alive, scoring two goals in 17 seconds to defeat the slumping Avalanche in Denver. Patrick Marleau scored his sixth goal in five games and Evgeni Nabokov, playing a very important game for the Sharks, came up big, making 40 saves.
For those that have not been to the Pepsi Center, be ready to be confused. The building itself is quite large, as it is even big enough to hold a restaurant and a full sized store. However, once inside, one is let in on the little trick. Unlike most other buildings, the main concourse of the Can is not built on the ground level. No, once entering Pepsi, one must ascend a pretty long escalator just to get to the top of the bottom level concourse. To top it off, there are two windmills mounted on the edge of the platform where the escalators unload, and a weird multi-athlete chandelier thing that hangs way down from the top of the ceiling. This ground level is called the Atrium at the Grand Entrance. Not sure why, but that's what they call it. The ground level is home to the team store, a giant place, probably the largest store I've seen yet, with exception to the Blueline in Columbus.
The store at Pepsi Center is pretty big, housing tons of stuff for both the Avalanche and the NBA's Denver Nuggets, who also call Pepsi Center home. Stuffed mountain lions (Rocky, the Nuggets mascot) and abominable snowmen (the Avalanche mascot who only survived for a couple seasons) line the shelves of the store, waiting to be plucked and loved as only mountain lions and abominable snowmen can be.
The concourse of the Pepsi Center is huge. Giant in circumference, that is. The width of the walkway is not so big, but there are about 70 sections on the top level, so there are lots of people jamming these not-so-large concourses before, during, and after the games (there's nothing like having a ticket in 319, and seeing a sign upon arrival on the top level for 374).
The food is pretty good, and reasonably priced. At 6 dollars for a cup of beer, the Can has some cheap-man sodas (AKA adult beverages, cold ones, liquid noise/insanity). Of course, the only kid sodas available are of the Pepsi variety, with nary a red-labeled soda to be found anywhere in the vicinity (to utter the word Sprite instead of Sierra Mist would be suicide). Unlike the majority of arenas I've already visited, the Pepsi Center has a very large number of concessions, with an average of one stand for every couple sections, meaning there's not far to run to douse any sadness with drinks or eats.
The seating area of the Can seems very vast from the inside, but, from sitting in the third level, it doesn't seem too big. However, when the Avalanche scored, the noise level made the initial impression of size seem pretty accurate (except for the horn, which wasn't very loud in its own right; one might think that the opposing team scored). The Can has a large number of banners. One end is all Avalanche division, conference, President's Trophy, and Stanley Cup banners. The other end are Denver Nugget banners. The sides have Colorado Mammoth (National Lacrosse League) and Colorado Crush (Arena Football League) banners, with the two retired Avalanche, Patrick Roy and Ray Bourque (33 and 77, respectively) hanging from the sides of the rafters.
The Sharks now come home for a Saturday night game with the Philadelphia Flyers, marking the possible return of former longtime Shark, Mike Rathje, at 7:30 PST.
Go Sharks (go drink some non-Coke soda products)
The Pepsi Center's uvula.
The logo at center ice happily shows that they weren't called the Rocky Mountain Extreme (rumored name for the Avalanche).