DENVER – Nathan MacKinnon bounced back from a rare scoreless night with a goal and an assist to lead the Colorado Avalanche to a 4-3 win over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.
MacKinnon had his 15-game points streak ended Friday night and failed to get a shot on goal for the first time in 264 games. He made up for that with his 20th goal on one of nine shots for him.
“He made some things happen,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “A couple of the faceoff things we had drawn up got us goals. It was just smart execution. He shot the puck pretty well. It looked like he was a little snake bit, but once he got that one he got a couple more (good chances).”
Mikko Rantanen scored his 28th of the season and added an assist for Colorado and Devan Dubnyk stopped 22 shots against his former team.
Alexander Barabanov and Tomas Hertl had a goal and an assist each, Logan Couture also scored and rookie goaltender Josef Korenar had 40 saves for the Sharks. San Jose fell further behind in the chase for the last playoff spot in the West Division.
“He kept us in the game. He was probably our best player for a majority of the night,” Couture said of Korenar said. “It could have been a lot more than the four that they got. We made it a game at the end but I wish we would have helped him out a little more.”
The Sharks went more than seven periods and 145 minutes, 32 seconds, without a goal against Colorado but that ended when Barabanov beat Dubnyk with a power-play at 4:25 of the second period to give San Jose a 1-0 lead.
MacKinnon’s tip at 13:08 tied it at 1-1 and Burakovsky gave the Avalanche the lead 2:58 later when he scored off of a faceoff, his 15th of the season.
Patrik Nemeth gave Colorado a two-goal cushion with his third of the season and first since coming over in a trade with Detroit at 9:05 of the third.
“Cale (Makar) made a great play, drew a guy to him and I had an open lane and just took a shot,” Nemeth said. “It was a good play by him to create some movement there.”
Couture’s 17th of the season, a short-handed goal 50 seconds later, made it a one-goal game again. Rantanen made it 4-2 at 15:34 and with Korenar off for an extra skater Hertl scored at 17:47. It was his 16th.
“It was unfortunate we couldn’t get at least a point,” Sharks coach Bob Boughner said. “I thought (Korenar) made some big saves, especially the last 10 minutes of the second period. He was fighting to get through on some traffic on those two point-shot goals in the third period. He’s battling hard and fighting hard.”
DOWN TWOColorado played without two of its top six defensemen on Saturday night. In the first period Ryan Graves took an inadvertent elbow to the head from Evander Kane on Friday night and Samuel Girard went skates first into the boards in the third period.
Bednar said after the game Girard will be out approximately two weeks with a lower-body injury and Graves is considered day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
The Avalanche recalled Dan Renouf and Kyle Burroughs from the Colorado Eagles of the AHL, and they skated as the third defensive pairing.
SAME GAME, DIFFERENT ARENAThe home-and-home, four-game series between these two teams continues with two more in San Jose, Monday and Wednesday night.