Philipp Grubauer rejoins Colorado Avalanche, blanks Sharks

Apr 30, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Carl Soderberg (34) battles for the puck with San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) and defenseman Nikolai Knyzhov (71) and center Tomas Hertl (48) as goaltender Martin Jones (31) defends in the first period at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Philipp Grubauer made 21 saves in his return to action, Mikko Rantanen had a goal and two assists, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the San Jose Sharks 3-0 on Friday night in Denver.

Gabriel Landeskog and Cale Makar had a goal and an assist each for the Avalanche, who stopped a three-game losing streak.

Colorado (32-12-4, 68 points) played most of the game with five defensemen and then went down to four in the third.

Ryan Graves took an elbow to the head from in the first period and did not return with what the Avalanche said was an upper-body injury. Samuel Girard left in the third period after going into the boards.

Martin Jones had 33 saves for San Jose (20-25-5, 45 points).

Grubauer missed five games after being put on the health and safety protocol list but returned to record his sixth shutout of the season and the 17th of his career.

Related: NHL power rankings – Panthers roar to No. 1 ahead of Stanley Cup playoffs

Joonas Donskoi had an assist in his return to the lineup. He also missed five games while on the protocol list. Rantanen sat out four games for the same reason.

Colorado produced two power-play goals to take the lead in the first period. With Alexander Barabanov off for delay of game, the Avalanche worked the puck around to Makar at the point. His shot on goal was tipped in by Landeskog at 11:13. It was Landeskog’s 18th of the season.

A little more than a minute later, the Avalanche went back on the power play, and Makar made the Sharks pay with his sixth goal of the season at 13:13.

The Sharks had chances to cut into the deficit but couldn’t create many chances. Rantanen took an interference minor midway through the second period, but Colorado killed it off. San Jose got another power-play chance early in the third but couldn’t capitalize on the advantage.

The Sharks thought they got a goal midway through the third when Tomas Hertl beat Grubauer, but Colorado successfully challenged the play for being offside.

Rantanen scored into an empty net at 18:21, his 27th goal of the season.

Related: NHL games today – Complete TV schedule

–Field Level Media