PREVIEW: After blowing lead, Colorado Avalanche look to even series with San Jose Sharks

Mar 1, 2021; San Jose, California, USA; San Jose Sharks left wing John Leonard (43) scores against Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer (31) during the third period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no other way to describe it. The Colorado Avalanche got sucked into a Sharknado.

Erik Karlsson scored his first goal of the season, one of four the San Jose Sharks tallied in the third period Monday night, to defeat the visiting Avalanche 6-2.

The teams will wrap up their two-game series Wednesday, also in San Jose, Calif.

Related: NHL power rankings – Lightning lead the way after Stanley Cup repeat

The Sharks, who had allowed 13 goals over the first two games of their homestand — a 7-6 loss to St. Louis on Saturday and a 6-2 defeat against Minnesota on Feb. 22 — fell behind 2-0 to Colorado.

Radim Simek and Kevin Labanc scored in the second to tie it at 2-2 and give the Sharks some momentum heading into the final period.

Rudolfs Balcers, Karlsson, John Leonard and Evander Kane scored in the third for San Jose. Kane had two assists to go along with his empty-netter.

“I felt like we didn’t hesitate,” said Karlsson, whose goal came on the power play. “We didn’t play not to lose (Monday). I thought that we played to win the game. That doesn’t mean that that’s always going to happen, but it felt like that was our mentality going into the third.”

Sharks coach Bob Boughner also noticed a different feel within his team.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Sharks, check out #SharksTerritory rumors, rankings, and news here.

“I think we played with a little bit of (an angry) attitude after the last couple games,” Boughner said. “We’re a different team than when we went into Colorado at the start of the season (7-3 and 3-0 losses in late January). We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I like the chemistry I’m seeing.”

Timo Meier had three assists for the Sharks, and goaltender Martin Jones made 33 saves.

Karlsson mas making just his second appearance after missing four games with a lower-body injury sustained Feb. 13 against Vegas.

“It seems like he’s got a good reset,” Boughner said. “He’s doing those things with the puck we’re used to seeing him doing. That’s the Erik we’re used to seeing.”

Gabriel Landeskog and Samuel Girard scored for the Avalanche, who had a two-game winning streak halted. Philipp Grubauer stopped 21 of 26 shots.

“We kind of gave this one away,” Colorado forward Mikko Rantanen said. “We gave up too many chances. We started the third period, it’s a 2-2 hockey game on the road and we started the first five minutes in the (defensive zone). I don’t think that’s the start you’re looking for. It was very frustrating.”

Colorado coach Jared Bednar said his team’s mindset changed after it built the early advantage.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Avalanche, check out #GoAvsGo rumors, rankings, and news here.

“When we built the 2-0 lead, we got stubborn,” Bednar said. “We turned the puck over, got fancy and kind of got away from our game. We had way too many turnovers. We were bringing it on ourselves. The scoring chances they had were coming off our mismanagement of the puck. We’re sleeping and getting outworked coming to our net on a few of these. We just turned it into a track meet with a highly skilled team that plays with pace.”

Colorado played without defenseman Cale Makar, who missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury and returned to Denver to receive treatment.

–Field Level Media