Erik Karlsson scored for the first time this season during a four-goal third period that helped the San Jose Sharks roll past the Colorado Avalanche 6-2 on Monday night.
“It seems like he's got a good reset. He's doing those things with the puck we’re used to seeing him doing,” San Jose coach Bob Boughner said. “That’s the Erik we’re used to seeing.”
Rudolfs Balcers broke a tie early in the third, John Leonard scored on a breakaway and Evander Kane added an empty-netter as the Sharks pulled away to beat the Avalanche for the first time in three tries this season. Timo Meier assisted on the first three goals in the third.
Radim Simek and Kevin Labanc also scored for San Jose, and Martin Jones made 33 saves.
Samuel Girard and Gabriel Landeskog scored for the Avalanche. Philipp Grubauer stopped 21 shots.
“We kind of gave this one to them,” forward Mikko Rantanen said. “We gave up too many chances again."
The Sharks took their first lead with a strong push early in the third and never looked pack. Balcers got the puck in the offensive zone and sent a centering pass to a driving Meier. The puck bounced off Nazem Kadri’s stick before it could get to Meier and slipped past Grubauer for the tiebreaking goal.
San Jose made that lead stand up and got a needed win on this seven-game homestand. The Sharks had allowed 13 goals in the first two games of their longest homestand of the season in losses to Minnesota and St. Louis. They blew four separate one-goal leads in the 7-6 loss to the Blues on Saturday night but were able to extend this one when Karlsson scored his first goal a few minutes later on the power play to make it 4-2.
“That St. Louis one stings. It still stings right now,” Sharks captain Logan Couture said. “You have to move past it. ... I love the response tonight. Guys buckled down and played solid defense and our goaltender stepped up.”
Leonard added his goal on a breakaway midway through the third to put the game away.
“When we built the 2-0 lead, we get stubborn, we turn the puck over, tried to score on the rush and got away from our game plan,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said.
Landeskog’s goal on a power play in the second period on a play started by Nathan MacKinnon was the 203rd of his career. That moved him past Peter Forsberg for third in Avalanche history. Landeskog has a ways to go to get to second place, which is held by Milan Hejduk (375 goals). Joe Sakic has the most with 391.
TURN THE TABLES
The second period has doomed the Sharks so often this season — they entered the game getting outscored by 15 goals in the middle frame. But after falling behind 2-0 on Landeskog’s goal, San Jose finished strong with two goals.
Simek converted the first off a pass from Marc-Edouard Vlasic to become the first Sharks defenseman other than Brent Burns with a goal this season. Labanc tied it late in the period off a chance created by Kane, marking just the fifth time this season the Sharks had the edge in the second period.
SHORT ON D
The Avs were missing two defensemen. Cale Makar returned to Colorado with an upper-body injury, and Bo Byram was scratched with an upper-body injury.
The teams meet for the fourth time this season Wednesday night in San Jose.
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