The San Jose Sharks took full advantage of Colorado’s mistake-filled third period in a 6-2 victory on Monday.
A two-goal Avalanche lead was short-lived as the Sharks sorted themselves out and threw the visitors on their heels. Radim Simek’s quick-quick release shot got underneath Philipp Grubauer (21 saves) less than two minutes after Gabriel Landeskog’s goal. Evander Kane then muscled his way around the cage and fed Kevin Labanc to tie the game.
A fluky go-ahead goal, credited to Rudolfs Balcers, went in off the stick of Colorado’s Nazem Kadri early in the third period. A contested penalty call to Mikko Rantanen led to Erik Karlsson’s first of the season and a 4-2 San Jose lead.
San Jose spent the majority of the early third on the attack.
“I think breaking out the puck was tough today,” Rantanen said. “You need all five guys to do it. I don’t think we did a good enough job there to help our (defense).”
The most dysfunctional goal-against was the fifth one, with Ryan Graves swatting at a puck midair as John Leonard went off on a breakaway. Grubauer’s poke check missed, and Leonard did not.
Kane added an empty-netter.
“We all know that we didn’t play good today,” Avs defenseman Samuel Girard said. “We have to be better next game.”
With Cale Makar (upper body) and late scratch Bo Byram (upper body) out of the lineup in addition to Erik Johnson, Girard logged 25:41, second only to Devon Toews, and scored the first goal. Andre Burakovsky flipped it to Girard, who faked out his defender, centered and scored.
On his goal, Landeskog was just passing through the crease on the power play. Nathan MacKinnon’s shot and Kadri’s tip didn’t reach twine, but Landeskog shoveled the rebound backward to make it 2-0.
Colorado fell to 11-7-1.
Coach Jared Bednar drew a connection to a Wednesday loss to the Minnesota Wild by the same score. A 6-2 final has been a recurring theme for the Avalanche lately — three of their past four games have been decided that way, a win and two losses.
He said the players were “saying the right things on the bench,” but repeating mistakes.
“The scoring chances that they had are coming off our mismanagement of the puck,” Bednar said.
“It’s our intentions with the puck that hurt us tonight.”