After a scoreless first period, Colorado held on for a 4-3 victory over the Sharks, moving to 5-1 on the season against San Jose. Three different players recorded at least two points, and goaltender Devan Dubnyk notched a win against the team that traded him to the Avalanche. Dubnyk stopped 25 shots. Here are three takeaways from Saturday’s win:
MacKinnon Bounces Back
Friday night’s game wasn’t exactly what the Avalanche are used to getting from Nathan MacKinnon. The superstar center didn’t register a shot on goal for the first time in 263 games, and his 15-game point streak was snapped. MacKinnon got a good start on two new streaks on Saturday.
MacKinnon tallied his 20th goal of the season and added an assist in the win. He racked up a whopping nine shots on goal in 22:40 of ice time. MacKinnon’s goal came 4-on-4 with 6:52 to go in the second period with the Avalanche trailing by a goal. MacKinnon directed traffic before the faceoff, and then all four players touched the puck before Conor Timmins set MacKinnon up with the equalizer.
His assist came early in the third with Colorado clinging to a 2-1 lead. Patrik Nemeth scored his third of the season – and first since being traded to the Avalanche on April 9. It was also Nemeth’s first point with Colorado, coming in his sixth contest with the team.
MacKinnon leads the Avalanche in points, sporting 20 goals and 43 assists. Entering Saturday’s games, he was tied for fifth in the NHL in assists. His goal made him the 26th player to score 20 goals this season.
Timmins Steps In
The Avalanche needed some defensemen to step up on Saturday, as both Samuel Girard and Ryan Graves were knocked out of Friday’s game with injuries. Timmins might not have been the likeliest savior, but he more than filled the bill against the Sharks. Coming into the game with just one point on the season – an assist back on April 14 in a 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues. He notched a pair of assists on Saturday, giving him the first two-point game of his young career.
He assisted on MacKinnon’s goal, and then helped set up what proved to be the game-winner by Mikko Rantanen late in the third period. He also piled up 18:27 of ice time – his most since racking up 20:15 in a 3-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on February 16.
He wasn’t the only defenseman to step up on Saturday. Nemeth scored his first goal with the team, while Cale Makar and Devon Toews added assists. Toews led everybody with 28:27 in ice time, while Makar was a few seconds short of 24 minutes.
Second Period Proves Key Again
The second period has been Colorado’s favorite stanza all season, and Saturday was no different. After a scoreless first period, San Jose took a lead with a power-play goal from Alexander Barbanov just 4:25 into the frame. It was the first power-play goal by the Sharks in 11 games, but it ignited the Avalanche.
Colorado took a 2-1 lead going into the third, and outshot the Sharks 21-4 in the period. They wound up with a 44-25 edge in shots on goal for the game. MacKinnon got the scoring started, but Andre Burakovsky’s 15th of the season at the 16:06 mark gave the Avalanche the lead for good.
On the season, the Avalanche have outscored their opponents 38-16 in the second period, and have outshot them 339-177 in the middle 20 minutes. Colorado also has not lost a game in regulation when taking a lead into the third. The Avs are now 27-0-1 when leading after two periods.
Saturday’s game was the second of four straight contests for Colorado against the Sharks. The next two – which are the final two games between the teams this season – are set for Monday and Wednesday in San Jose.
Lifelong storyteller and experienced hockey reporter that has covered everything from major juniors to the NHL. Worked for various newspapers across Minnesota and North Dakota, and now covering the Colorado Avalanche for THW.