Avalanche snap winless streak with 6-0 win over San Jose Sharks

The Avalanche did not need a bigger boat.

Not to catch these Sharks. In the most lopsided game of the season by a nautical mile, the Avs swarmed San Jose 6-0 on Tuesday night at Ball Arena.

The circumstances made it arguably the most blatant should-win game of the season for the Avs (35-21-5) — exactly what they needed to snap a three-game winless streak and get back to circling their prey in the playoff hunt.

The Sharks entered Ball Arena as the NHL’s third-worst team, with a .391 point percentage. They were barely a week removed from trading star Timo Meier. And they were finishing a back-to-back after playing the previous night in Winnipeg, making this a rare occasion on the Avalanche schedule in which they were the better-rested team.

Colorado outshot San Jose 19-2 in the first period, not allowing a shot on goal for the first 13:35. Both shots were from behind the faceoff circle. When Alexandar Georgiev was finally credited with his first save, it was only a SOG in the scorebook; Andreas Johnsson shoveled a backhand pass from the boards that happened to be directed at the goal. The Sharks didn’t manage a single shot attempt in the period without Erik Karlsson on the ice.

Meanwhile, the Avalanche triumvirate did something it had never done before. Cale Makar, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen all scored in the same period for the first time, supplying the 3-0 intermission lead that became 5-0 three minutes into the second period.

Denis Malgin’s goal finally marked the end of the leash for San Jose starting goalie Kaapo Kahkonen. Shots were 24-2 Colorado when he was pulled from the net, 34-7 at second intermission and 43-13 at the final horn.

Makar compiled four points in his first true return to form since consecutive concussions in February. With help from an Artturi Lehkonen screen, Makar started the scoring with a clean shot from the blue line, located top shelf. It was his first goal since Jan. 16 and his 14th of the season.

After adding three assists, he was back over the point-per-game mark (50 in 49 games). He’s already tied for the most career three-point games (17) by a defenseman in Avalanche/Nordiques history.

Valeri Nichushkin and MacKinnon both matched Makar with four points. Nichushkin deflected a Makar shot for his 12th goal. MacKinnon, smelling blood in the water after Colorado’s opening tally, harpooned a shot to the same spot as Makar. MacKinnon has scored in seven consecutive home games and has reached 200 career multi-point games. He has 78 points in 51 games this season.

San Jose’s only controlling stretch of the night lasted the first two minutes of the third period. Half of that was with a man advantage — Jack Johnson had two penalties for the Avs — but nonetheless, the Sharks got four consecutive shots at Georgiev. Then they didn’t register another for the next 11 minutes.

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