Sharks Avalanche Hockey

Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews, left, celebrates his goal with defenseman Samuel Girard, second from left, and center Nazem Kadri during the first period Saturday against Sharks in Denver.

DENVER - With a 6-2 blowout of the San Jose Sharks, the Colorado Avalanche got over .500 for the first time 12 games into the season Saturday night at Ball Arena.

Devon Toews opened the scoring on a power-play slap shot through traffic. He’s scored twice in three games since his season debut, delayed by offseason surgery.

Nazem Kadri quietly took over the team scoring lead with an assist on Toews’ goal and one of his own. He was set up on a short breakout by Valeri Nichushkin, who continues to show how much the team missed him as he sat out nine games with an injury.

Samuel Girard then threaded a pass to a wide-open Alex Newhook, who buried the first regular-season goal of his career.

“Feels good. I was just trying my best to put it home there,” Newhook said.

“(Girard) made a great play coming off the wall. As soon as I saw him coming in, I just tried to get open. I know he saw me, so just a matter of time before he slid it over.”

Newhook was sent down to the Colorado Eagles (AHL) after one regular-season Avalanche game and a few weeks in total that didn’t pass muster. He was summoned back Tuesday.

With Newhook in the penalty box, Logan O’Connor took a pass from Darren Helm at center ice and tore up the middle. O’Connor went to his backhand and flipped the puck past Adin Hill (25 saves) to make it 4-1.

One minute, 11 seconds after the Sharks closed their deficit to 4-2, a rebound dribbled to Andre Burakovsky, who restored the Colorado lead. Girard scored the empty netter with another assist from Kadri.

“He was moving tonight, obviously feeling it,” Kadri said. “Helps to get on the board as a skilled player. That’s what we need from him going forward and he’s definitely more than capable.”

Colorado goaltender Darcy Kuemper made 28 saves. 

J.T. Compher stopped taking regular shifts during the first period and was ruled out for the rest of the game with an upper-body injury. He was serving as injured Nathan MacKinnon’s replacement, centering the top line.

“Upper body,” coach Jared Bednar said. “Pulled something. Not doing great right now...couldn’t continue in the game.

“He’ll get reevaluated tomorrow. I have no idea on the timeline on that. It could be two days or it could be much longer.”

Rookie defenseman Bowen Byram missed the game after staying until the end of Friday's practice.

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