RECAP: Colorado Avalanche’s offensive explosion downs Sharks

Jan 26, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Avalanche left wing Brandon Saad (20) celebrates with defenseman Cale Makar (8) after scoring a goal against the San Jose Sharks in the first period at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Saad had two goals and Cale Makar added three assists as the Colorado Avalanche dumped the visiting San Jose Sharks 7-3 Tuesday.

The Avalanche got single-goal efforts from Joonas Donskoi, Mikko Rantanen, Valeri Nichushkin, Samuel Girard, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Devon Toews. The Sharks got a goal and an assist each from Ryan Donato and Logan Couture. Noah Gregor scored once and Kevin Labanc added two assists.

Donato got the Sharks up 1-0 early, tapping a mid-air bounce past Avs goalie Philipp Grubauer with 10 minutes, 39 seconds off the clock in the first period.

The Avalanche onslaught began with Donskoi, Saad and Rantanen each beating Sharks goaltender Martin Jones in the last four minutes of the 20-minute frame. Donskoi tipped in an Erik Johnson shot from the point and Saad converted a pass through the slot from Makar. Rantanen one-timed a shot from the face-off circle on an Avs power play to extend his goal-scoring streak to six games.

Gregor squeezed his goal into another flurry of Avalanche scoring in the second.

Nichushkin started the Avs parade with a short-handed breakaway at the 1:32 mark, and Girard scored four minutes later to chase Jones from the Sharks net for benchwarmer Devan Dubnyk, new to the roster this season from the Minnesota Wild.

Gregor impressed with some fancy puck work after a lead pass from Dylan Gambrell for the Sharks’ second goal, but the no-quit Avalanche roared back with goals from Toews and Saad.

The third went by without any scoring until 12:42 when Couture, rushing toward the net, got his stick on a centering pass from Donato to cut the Avalanche lead to 7-3.

The Avalanche have yet to record a power-play goal against them on home ice. The Sharks were unsuccessful in four tries.

Grubauer made 27 saves in the Avs net, while Jones made 14 saves on 19 shots to take the loss for the Sharks. Dubnyk, likely to get the start in Thursday’s rematch, made 21 saves on 23 shots.

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–Field Level Media