SAN JOSE – The Sharks dominated the second period, nearly gave the game away late in the third, but recovered to beat Colorado in a shootout on Monday at home, 5-4.
The Sharks and Avalanche combined for three goals in the final two minutes of regulation, leading to overtime and eventually the tiebreaker, knotted at 4-4.
San Jose led 3-2 late in the third, when Patrick Marleau’s tripping minor put Colorado on the power play. Although the Sharks technically killed it off, Marleau was getting back into the defensive zone when Erik Johnson’s shot beat Antti Niemi through the five-hole at 18:09 with goalie Semyon Varlamov pulled.
John Mitchell’s bad angle shot sailed over Niemi’s shoulder after getting deflected by Jamie McGinn just 12 seconds later.
The Sharks responded with Niemi pulled, tying it with 19.6 seconds to go. Stationed behind the net, Joe Thornton found Joe Pavelski in position, and Pavelski put in his sixth goal in the last seven games. Thornton finished with three assists.
The Sharks had a power play in overtime when Johnson went off on a hold at 1:54, but the couldn’t convert. Brent Burns had the best chance, getting Varlamov out of position with a deke in the circle, but firing high over an open net.
Logan Couture and Marleau scored in the skills competition, while Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene were denied by Niemi. The Sharks are 5-5 in shootouts this season.
The Sharks now have a mandatory three-day break, as stipulated by the new collective bargaining agreement. The resume their schedule on Friday in Phoenix.
San Jose trailed 2-1 after the first intermission, when Colorado scored a late goal in the opening frame. On a backcheck, Burns lost track of Gabriel Landeskog, and the Avalanche captain got open between the circles before depositing a goal at 19:11.
The Sharks responded, big time, in the middle frame, outshooting the Avalanche 21-5.
Burns, who finished with three points on the night (1g, 2a), tied it. A shot from the top of the circle deflected off of Max Talbot’s stick and past Varlamov at 5:53. Earlier in the period, Varlamov made impressive saves on Burns, Jason Demers and Mike Brown, but he couldn’t turn away Burns’ rocket.
San Jose took its first lead on the power play, when Matt Irwin’s low point shot found its way inside the far post at 13:02.
MacKinnon opened the scoring on a power play at 11:05, when his shot deflected off of Andrew Desjardins’ stick before fluttering past Niemi. Demers’ second goal in as many games made it 1-1 less than three minutes later on a San Jose man advantage.
San Jose was 2-for-4 on the power play, and Colorado was 1-for-3.
The Sharks two new power play units featured Thornton with Pavelski and Marleau with Irwin and Dan Boyle at the points; and Couture with Burns and Tommy Wingels, and Justin Braun and Marc-Edouard Vlasic the defensemen.
There were two fights in the first period. Brown bloodied by Cody McLeod at 2:26, and later Jamie McGinn staged a bout with Brad Stuart.
Niemi, who had off for the Sharks’ 3-2 shootout win against Dallas on Saturday, made 29 saves but the two third period markers he allowed appeared to be stoppable pucks.
Varlamov made 41 saves.
The Sharks made Marty Havlat a healthy scratch for the second time this season. Scott Hannan also sat for the second straight game.
McGinn, a former Sharks fan favorite, has just three goals in his last 28 games for Colorado.
After Friday’s game against the Coyotes, a home-and-home with Anaheim closes out the year on Dec. 29 at home and New Year’s Eve at Honda Center.