A multitude of untimely and undisciplined penalties was the Sharks’ undoing in a 6-3 loss to Colorado on Monday night.
San Jose (17-16-2, 36 points) began its five-game homestand with its 10th loss at SAP Center in 14 games (4-10-0), allowing a whopping four power play goals against on six chances.
Nathan MacKinnon paced the Avalanche with three goals, while Carl Soderberg had one goal and two assists.
Trailing 3-2 entering the third period, the Sharks had the early territorial advantage before Brent Burns’ awkward holding minor on Soderberg halted the momentum. With their power play winding down, the Avalanche worked the puck around the zone before Blake Comeau finished it off with his sixth goal at 7:09.
San Jose got it back when Tomas Hertl swiped in just his second goal in 31 games after Mike Brown drove the puck into the offensive zone less than a minute later, but Tommy Wingels was whistled for hooking at 8:23, putting the Sharks back on their heels.
That allowed MacKinnon to whack in his second goal of the night at 8:44, from Soderberg, to restore Colorado’s two-goal cushion. He finished off the hat trick with an empty net goal from deep in his own zone at 18:32.
The Avs snapped a 13-game losing streak in San Jose, dating back to their previous victory here on Feb. 6, 2008. Since losing to the Sharks at home on Nov. 1, Colorado (18-17-2, 38 points) has stormed back into playoff contention with a 15-10-1 record.
The Sharks had all of the early chances in the first few minutes, but still were not able to score the first goal. Wingels in particular had a couple good looks, including a shorthanded two-on-one with Matt Nieto that he couldn’t slam past Calvin Pickard.
Colorado took a 1-0 lead on a power play goal at 8:46, when MacKinnon finished off a tic-tac-toe rush with Jarome Iginla and Soderberg.
That was one of four advantages in the first for Colorado, thanks to minor penalties to Hertl, Joe Thornton, Brenden Dillon and Paul Martin.
Patrick Marleau tied the game briefly midway through the first, whipping in a wrist shot from the slot on a pass from Joel Ward after Jack Skille turned it over. Colorado replied a little more than four minutes later with another power play goal, when Soderberg redirected a Francois Beauchemin wrister at 14:28.
The teams traded second period scores. Matt Duchene got a fortunate bounce just outside the crease when his attempted pass ricocheted in off of Martin’s skate at 11:19. San Jose responded on a Melker Karlsson score on a setup from behind the net by Thornton at 13:58.
Karlsson, who started the game on the fourth line before he was bumped up to the Thornton line, recorded his first point in 15 games.
San Jose has allowed the first goal-against in all 10 of its losses at home. The Sharks are just 1-5-1 against the Central Division.
The Sharks and Avalanche close out their three-game season series on Feb. 24 at Pepsi Center.
The Sharks entered the night with a 14-for-14 penalty kill streak in their last seven games before falling apart against Colorado. San Jose had allowed four power play goals against in its previous 16 games combined before Monday.
The Sharks were 0-for-3 on the power play, snapping a streak of at least one power play goal in four straight games.
Jones started for the eighth time in the last nine, losing to Colorado for the first time in his career (3-1-0). He allowed five goals on 25 shots.
Pickard was making his first start of the season, as regular backup Reto Berra is out with an injury and Semyon Varlamov played on Sunday against Arizona. He recorded his first win with 35 saves.
Thornton increased his point streak to six games.
Ward returned after missing two games with an upper body injury. Ben Smith came out of the lineup, while defenseman Matt Tennyson was a healthy scratch for the eighth straight game.
The Sharks host the Flyers on Wednesday. On Nov. 19 in Philadelphia, Karlsson’s overtime goal was the difference in a 1-0 win.