Sharks Bury Avalanche – Kane Scores 30th

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Evander Kane scored to make San Jose the first team in 10 years with at least four 30-goal scorers and the Sharks wrapped up the second-best record in the Western Conference by beating the Colorado Avalanche 5-2 on Saturday night.

Brent Burns, Kevin Labanc, Gustav Nyquist and Micheal Haley also scored to give the Sharks two straight wins to close the regular season following a stretch of 10 losses in 11 games. Martin Jones made 28 saves.

Kevin Labanc
San Jose Sharks right wing Kevin Labanc is congratulated by the bench (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Tyson Jost and Nathan MacKinnon scored for the Avalanche, who had gone 10 straight games without a regulation loss. Semyon Varlamov made 25 saves.

The game proved meaningless for the Avalanche, who were locked into the second wild-card spot after Dallas won earlier in the night. The Sharks had already solidified second place in the Pacific Division but locked up the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference with the win, assuring them home-ice advantage if they advance to the conference finals. Calgary won the Pacific and has the top record in the West.

Perhaps the most important part of the game for San Jose was the return of star defenceman Erik Karlsson, who had missed the previous 17 games with a groin injury. Karlsson got in a tuneup for the post-season, playing more than 20 minutes and posting a plus-3 rating.

The Avalanche scored on their first shot when Jost beat Jones from the slot through a crowd less than three minutes into the game, but the Sharks answered with goals from Burns and Kane in the middle of the period to take the lead.

Burns beat Varlamov off a faceoff win from Tomas Hertl to tie the game. Burns added an assist to give him 83 points on the season, the most by a defenceman since Brian Leetch had 85 in 1995-96.

Kane then deflected a pass from Nyquist past Varlamov, joining Hertl, Joe Pavelski and Timo Meier with at least 30. No team had four 30-goal scorers in a season since Philadelphia and Detroit did it in 2008-09.

The teams then traded goals in the second with MacKinnon scoring on a give-and-go with Gabriel Landeskog to tie the game and Labanc restoring the lead when his shot deflected off a defender and into the net.

Nyquist added an insurance goal in the third and Haley sealed it with an empty-netter.

NOTES: Avalanche F Mikko Rantanen took part in the morning skate but remains sidelined. Coach Jared Bednar said he’s hopeful Rantanen will be back for the playoffs. … Meier missed the game after appearing to hurt his wrist on Thursday and is listed as day to day.


Colorado: First-round playoff series vs. Calgary.

San Jose: First-round playoff series vs. Vegas.


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Josh Dubow, The Associated Press