~ By Pearl Allison Lo
~ Colorado broke their four-game losing streak big, matching those games with goals in a shutout over San Jose Thursday.
The Sharks meanwhile continued on a four-game road streak slide and ended a seven-game streak of scoring at least two goals. They last went scoreless on the last day of December.
It was the Avalanche’s first shutout since November 12 and goalie Philipp Grubauer’s first of the season.
Sharks’ defenseman Brent Burns did not mince words postgame, “…vicious cycle of getting behind and trying not to make mistakes, not helping the next guy. Tough to play when you’re nervous…an unacceptable game.”
Martin Jones returned to action for San Jose after last goaltending January 5 and faced 38 shots. He stayed in net the whole game and was able to keep Colorado off the board in the third.
San Jose went down at least 2-0 for the second game in a row. The Avalanche accomplished this by scoring a pair of goals in each of the first two periods, two via the faceoff which they won by a 63.2% to 36.8% clip. No one player stood out this time, but instead the points were spread out between eight players.
In the first, it was a tale of two ends as the Sharks were caught at the start and finale of the stanza.
Colorado took 45 seconds and one shot to cash in their first prize. They won the puck direction as Valeri Nichushkin grabbed the loose puck in the neutral zone. Burns slid in to defend when it got to San Jose’s zone, but Nichushkin was able to play keepaway and obtain the 1-0 score.
In between goals, Jones stopped a breakaway by Mikko Rantanen and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare off a 2-on-1.
At 19:53, Cale Makar took the puck from Nazem Kadri off a faceoff win, skated left and rang the bell through traffic, as the puck deflected three seconds before intermission.
Action settled down between the pipes in the second until almost the 10-minute mark but in the end, the Avalanche increased their margin by two more goals and two more shots.
Ryan Graves’ 3-0 goal mimicked the previous one in that it came right off the faceoff and went through traffic, but it was cleaner and quicker.
The Sharks had a bit of life when they got a power play opportunity at 11:53. Joe Thornton hit the post during the advantage, but eventually things turned sour again with a shorthanded score. After Barclay Goodrow was pinched going into the zone, Matt Calvert went on a breakaway, as he raced to the loose puck in the neutral zone and put the puck in net around Jones before crashing into him.
In the third, Goodrow hit the post shorthanded when Brenden Dillon was in the box at 13:33.
Things came to a head at 15:43 when Kadri and San Jose’s Timo Meier received 10-minute misconducts and Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog got a two-minute roughing. The Sharks’ Evander Kane was whistled for interference a minute later, speculation his act was for a hit to Joe Thornton’s back by Nikita Zadorov in the opening half of the first.
Up Next: San Jose will try to cap their road trip and start off the All-Star break with a win Saturday in Vancouver versus the Canucks at 7pm.