DENVER - Two and a half minutes into overtime, the captain came through.
Gabriel Landeskog scored his second of the series Monday night to force Game 7 and allow the Avalanche, 4-3 winners, to stay alive for another two days, at least.
Colorado made it that far thanks in large part to J.T. Compher. The 24-year-old winger scored twice and had a hand in all three regulation Colorado goals and Philipp Grubauer made 18 saves, but the San Jose Sharks erased their third one-goal deficit of the night to force overtime.
In extra time, Landeskog fought for it along the boards and Cale Makar held it in at the blue line. Landeskog got it back and kept it simple.
“Every time I try to pick a corner, it hasn’t been working for me, so I just decided to whack at this one and it worked,” Landeskog said.
Compher appeared to send the Avalanche into the second period break with the lead and momentum, sending a point shot through traffic at 18:44. He then appeared to give the Avs a lead they could hold onto. But it wasn’t enough.
With just under 10 seconds left on the clock in the second period, the Avs gave Erik Karlsson plenty of time to get creative, and he hit a trailing Brent Burns, who tied it at 2 with his fourth of the series.
Compher wasn’t done. The Avs’ hottest player was left alone in front of the net and Derek Brassard fed him to make it 3-2 four minutes into the third period. He doubled his career playoff goal output in Game 6.
“It’s like all he’s ever done is play Game 6, games where you’re on the brink of elimination,” Landeskog said. “He was really good tonight.”
But Marc-Edouard Vlasic tied it up with 2:28 left in regulation on his second of the night.
With little to work with, Compher created a 2-on-1 on the first goal, skating wide and fast and threading a pass to Tyson Jost. Fresh off his first career postseason goal in Game 5, which also broke open a scoreless game, Jost tapped it home.
Landeskog had a chance to double the lead, but ran up against Jones. The Avalanche captain had just two goals through 10 playoff games after tallying a career-high 34 during the regular season, despite being second on the team in postseason shots.
Mikko Rantanen missed a shift after a hard hit sent him to the locker room, but he was back before the end of the second period.
The top line had a rough night before Landeskog’s overtime breakthrough. Landeskog, Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon were on the ice for all three Sharks goals.
“As frustrating as it was to keep losing those leads, we tried to reset and get back out there,” Landeskog said.
“We knew it wasn’t supposed to be easy. Nobody said it was going to be.”
San Jose’s Timo Meier tied it at 1, taking it all the way in while tangled up with Makar. Grubauer tried the poke check but left it sitting on the doorstep and lost his stick, and Vlasic went high. The Avalanche unsuccessfully challenged the goal for goaltender interference.
The Avalanche couldn’t score on two power-play chances in the first period, though one was cut short by a minor against. Colorado played better on the ensuing 4-on-4 but couldn’t convert.
The Avalanche are 2-for-20 on the power play through Game 6.
Game 7 is Wednesday in San Jose. The franchise is 6-7 all-time in Game 7s.
“Now it’s a toss-up and the pressure’s on them going back to San Jose,” Makar said.