Big third period leads San Jose Sharks past Colorado Avalanche

By Curtis Pashelka
The Mercury News/TNS

So‌ ‌that’s‌ ‌what‌ ‌it’s‌ ‌like‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌Sharks‌ ‌not‌ ‌to‌ ‌have‌ ‌to‌ ‌sweat‌ ‌out‌ ‌another‌ ‌close‌ ‌game.‌ ‌

The‌ ‌Sharks‌ ‌scored‌ ‌six‌ ‌unanswered‌ ‌goals,‌ ‌including‌ ‌four in‌ ‌an‌ ‌impressive‌ ‌third‌ ‌period,‌ ‌to ‌beat‌ ‌the‌ ‌Colorado‌ ‌Avalanche‌ ‌6-2‌ ‌on‌ ‌Monday‌ ‌at‌ ‌SAP‌ ‌Center.‌ ‌ ‌

Radim‌ ‌Simek‌ ‌and‌ ‌Kevin‌ ‌Labanc‌ ‌scored‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌second‌ ‌period‌ ‌to‌ ‌tie‌ ‌the‌ ‌game‌ ‌2-2,‌ ‌and‌ ‌Rudolfs‌ ‌Balcers, ‌Erik‌ ‌Karlsson‌, John Leonard and Evander Kane each ‌scored‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌third‌ ‌period‌ ‌as‌ ‌the‌ ‌Sharks‌ ‌improved‌ ‌to‌ ‌1-2-0‌ ‌on‌ ‌their‌ ‌seven-game‌ ‌homestand.‌ ‌ ‌

Timo‌ ‌Meier‌ ‌added‌ ‌three‌ ‌assists,‌ ‌including‌ ‌one‌ on ‌Balcers’‌ ‌game-winner‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌4:18‌ ‌mark‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌third‌ ‌period.‌ ‌Karlsson‌ ‌scored‌ ‌a‌ ‌power‌ ‌play‌ ‌goal‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌7:53‌ ‌mark,‌ ‌and‌ ‌Leonard‌ ‌added‌ ‌another‌ ‌insurance‌ ‌goal‌ ‌with‌ ‌9:49‌ ‌to‌ ‌go‌ ‌as‌ ‌the‌ ‌Sharks‌ ‌cruised‌ ‌to‌ ‌their‌ ‌most‌ ‌complete‌ ‌victory‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌season.‌ ‌ ‌

The‌ ‌Sharks‌ ‌and‌ ‌Avalanche‌ ‌play‌ ‌again‌ ‌Wednesday‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌second‌ ‌game‌ ‌of‌ ‌a‌ ‌four‌ -game‌ ‌week.‌ ‌They‌ ‌also‌ ‌host‌ ‌the‌ ‌Vegas‌ ‌Golden‌ ‌Knights‌ ‌on‌ ‌Friday‌ ‌and‌ ‌Saturday.‌ ‌ ‌

The‌ ‌Sharks‌ ‌have‌ ‌only‌ ‌won‌ ‌one‌ ‌other‌ ‌game‌ ‌by‌ ‌more‌ ‌than‌ ‌one‌ ‌goal‌ ‌this‌ ‌season‌ ‌- ‌on‌ ‌Jan.‌ ‌24‌ ‌against‌ ‌the‌ ‌Minnesota‌ ‌Wild.‌ ‌

The‌ ‌Sharks‌ ‌and‌ ‌Avalanche‌ ‌entered‌ ‌the‌ ‌final‌ ‌period‌ ‌tied‌ ‌2-2‌ ‌after‌ ‌even‌-strength‌ ‌goals‌ ‌from‌ ‌Simek‌ ‌and‌ ‌Labanc.‌ ‌ ‌

Simek‌ ‌became‌ ‌the‌ ‌first‌ ‌Sharks‌ ‌defenseman‌ ‌other‌ ‌than‌ ‌Brent‌ ‌Burns‌ ‌to‌ ‌score‌ ‌a‌ ‌goal‌ ‌this‌ ‌season,‌ ‌as‌ he ‌took‌ ‌a‌ ‌pass‌ ‌from‌ ‌Marc-Edouard‌ ‌Vlasic‌ ‌and‌ ‌beat‌ ‌Avalanche‌ ‌goalie‌ ‌Philipp‌ ‌Grubauer‌ ‌to‌ ‌cut‌ ‌the‌ ‌Avalanche‌ ‌lead‌ ‌to‌ ‌2-1‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌6:13‌ ‌mark‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌second.‌ ‌ ‌

The‌ ‌Sharks‌ ‌seemed‌ ‌to‌ ‌gain‌ ‌some‌ ‌momentum‌ ‌after‌ ‌they‌ ‌killed‌ ‌a‌ ‌tripping‌ ‌penalty‌ ‌to‌ ‌Alex‌ ‌True‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌7:45‌ ‌mark‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌second.‌ ‌From‌ ‌there,‌ ‌they‌ ‌outshot‌ ‌the‌ ‌Avalanche‌ ‌5-2‌ ‌before‌ ‌Labanc‌ ‌scored‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌16:48‌ ‌mark‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌second.‌ ‌ ‌

Labanc’s‌ ‌goal,‌ ‌which‌ ‌came‌ ‌after‌ ‌some‌ ‌nice‌ ‌work‌ ‌down‌ ‌low‌ ‌by‌ ‌Logan‌ ‌Couture‌ ‌and‌ ‌Kane‌ ‌gave‌ ‌the‌ ‌Sharks’‌ ‌top‌ ‌line‌ ‌nine‌ ‌combined‌ ‌points‌ ‌over‌ ‌a‌ ‌five-period‌ ‌stretch.‌ ‌Lebanc,‌ ‌Couture‌ ‌and‌ ‌Kane‌ ‌had‌ ‌two‌ ‌points‌ ‌each‌ ‌Saturday‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌Sharks’‌ ‌7-6‌ ‌loss‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌St.‌ ‌Louis‌ ‌Blues.‌ ‌ ‌

‌The‌ ‌Sharks‌ ‌went‌ ‌0-for-2‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌man‌ ‌advantage‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌first‌ ‌period,‌ ‌managing‌ ‌just‌ ‌one‌ ‌shot‌ ‌in‌ ‌four‌ ‌minutes‌ ‌while‌ ‌the‌ ‌Avalanche‌ ‌had‌ ‌three‌ ‌shots‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌penalty‌ ‌kill.‌ ‌ ‌

‌The‌ ‌Avalanche‌ ‌didn’t‌ ‌score‌ ‌on‌ ‌their‌ ‌one‌ ‌power‌ ‌play,‌ ‌but‌ ‌took‌ ‌a‌ ‌1-0‌ ‌lead‌ ‌just‌ ‌after‌ ‌a‌ ‌tripping‌ ‌penalty‌ ‌to‌ ‌Mario‌ ‌Ferraro‌ ‌expired.‌ ‌Andre‌ ‌Burakovsky‌ ‌found‌ ‌Samuel‌ ‌Girard‌ ‌with‌ ‌a‌ ‌cross‌-ice‌ ‌pass,‌ ‌and‌ ‌Girard‌ ‌stopped‌ ‌to‌ ‌create‌ ‌some‌ ‌space‌ ‌from‌ ‌defenseman‌ ‌Marc-Edouard‌ ‌Vlasic‌ ‌and‌ ‌fired‌ ‌a‌ ‌shot‌ ‌that‌ ‌found‌ ‌the‌ ‌short‌ ‌side‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌18:32‌ ‌mark‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌first‌ ‌period.‌ ‌ ‌

‌The‌ ‌Sharks‌ ‌were‌ ‌looking‌ ‌to‌ ‌avoid‌ ‌their‌ ‌first‌ ‌three‌ -game‌ ‌losing‌ ‌streak‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌season.‌ ‌They‌ ‌started‌ ‌the‌ ‌homestand‌ ‌with‌ ‌a‌ ‌6-2‌ ‌loss ‌to‌ ‌Minnesota‌ ‌on‌ ‌Feb.‌ ‌22‌ ‌and‌ ‌lost‌ ‌7-6‌ ‌to‌ ‌St.‌ ‌Louis‌ ‌on‌ ‌Saturday.  ‌They entered ‌Monday‌ ‌in‌  ‌last‌ ‌place‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌West‌ ‌Division‌ ‌with‌ ‌16‌ ‌points.‌ ‌ ‌

It‌ ‌wasn’t‌ ‌going‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌an‌ ‌easy‌ ‌task.‌ ‌ ‌

The‌ ‌Avalanche‌ ‌were ‌coming‌ ‌off‌ ‌a‌ ‌two-game‌ ‌sweep‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Arizona‌ ‌Coyotes‌ ‌and‌ ‌largely‌ ‌manhandled‌ ‌the‌ ‌Sharks‌ ‌when‌ ‌the‌ ‌two‌ ‌teams‌ ‌met‌ ‌last met ‌in‌ ‌Denver.‌ ‌The‌ ‌Sharks‌ ‌lost‌ ‌7-3‌ ‌and‌ ‌3-0‌ ‌to‌ ‌Colorado‌ ‌on‌ ‌Jan.‌ ‌26‌ ‌and‌ Jan. ‌28.‌ ‌ ‌

While‌ ‌Mikko‌ ‌Rantanen‌ ‌and‌ ‌Nathan‌ ‌MacKinnon‌ ‌combined‌ ‌for‌ ‌one ‌goal‌ ‌and‌ ‌two‌ ‌assists‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌series,‌ ‌it‌ ‌was‌ ‌the‌ ‌Avalanche’s‌ ‌second‌ ‌and‌ ‌third‌ ‌lines‌ ‌that‌ ‌did‌ ‌most‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌damage.