Despite battling back to tie the game after an early deficit, the Colorado Avalanche could not take the lead and fell to the San Jose Sharks in Game 3.
The Avs knotted the contest at 2-2 at 11:45 of the third period but ultimately fell 4-2 to the Sharks at Pepsi Center on Tuesday. San Jose now has a 2-1 lead against Colorado in the clubs' second-round playoff series.
"We fight back to tie it up with six or seven minutes to go," said Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog. "To be honest with you, the whole third period I thought we were pushing and we had some good looks. You know, it comes down to a mistake and a turnover and it ends up in the back of our net."
The Avs were in a 2-0 deficit at the first intermission after the Sharks outshot them 13-7 in the opening period.
"We just didn't have a good start. Turning over so many pucks in the neutral zone and whatever we were trying to do, it wasn't working," Landeskog added. "Forwards are standing still at the blue line and D were trying to find targets, and it just wasn't happening for us and ended up costing us a good start.
"I felt like the first five minutes we were going and a couple 50-50 calls go against our way and they get all the momentum. But we fought our way back. A tie hockey game with six minutes to go at home, we got to be able to get that at least to overtime."
Video: Gabriel Landeskog following the Avs' loss in Game 3
Nathan MacKinnon got Colorado within one goal at the second intermission. Colorado outshot San Jose 11-5 in the third period in an effort to complete the comeback, and Matt Nieto scored his fourth tally of the playoffs with 8:15 left in the third frame to even the score.
Nieto is now third on the Avalanche in goals this postseason and is tied with Gabriel Landeskog for fourth in points with six.
San Jose regained the lead 1:05 after Nieto's marker and sealed the win with an empty-net goal with 30 seconds remaining in regulation.
Video: SJS@COL, Gm3: Nieto deflects home Girard's shot
"They outplayed us and we turned a lot of pucks over, big turnovers, costly ones," said Nathan MacKinnon. "We started to find our momentum in the second half of the second period and in the third period, 15 minutes of the third period, then we lost it again. It's unfortunate. We were feeling great thinking about OT, maybe we could have got another one with the momentum with Nietsy tying it up, but it didn't happen."
The Avs are 6-9 all-time when losing two of the first three games of a best-of-seven playoff series, including a 4-4 record since moving to Denver.
San Jose now has a 2-1 lead in the set. Game 4 is set for Thursday night at Pepsi Center.
MacKINNON STREAKING: Nathan MacKinnon got the Avs on the board in the second period to extend his point streak to seven games.
It is the longest postseason point streak by a Colorado player since Peter Forsberg also had a seven-game stretch in 2004 and is also the longest streak of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Video: SJS@COL, Gm3: MacKinnon comes off bench and scores
"He's working. He's got a hunger to his game right now, and he's working at the point of the puck, he's working away from it," head coach Jared Bednar said of MacKinnon. "He wants the puck. He's one of those guys that, he is trying to get available and is working for the puck all the time because he wants it. He wants to be a difference maker."
MacKinnon has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) this postseason, the most for an Avalanche skater since Joe Sakic had 12 (seven goals, five assists) in 2004.
In his Stanley Cup Playoffs career, MacKinnon has 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) in 21 contests, good for the highest points-per-game average (1.33) among active players.
MATT CALVERT DAY-TO-DAY: Forward Matt Calvert missed the contest after he took a hit from Brent Burns late in Game 2 and sustained an upper-body injury.
"It is a big loss for us because he fills in in so many different areas for us," head coach Jared Bednar said of Calvert before Game 3. "No. 1, the penalty kill--he is a huge part of that. No. 2, that grit and sandpaper that he plays with. That physicality is something that we need in our lineup, and he is a guy that is usually a catalyst to that.
"You look at Game 2, with the exception of probably Tyson Barrie, he is the driving force behind the win and gets a couple big assists there. Ends up taking a hit to make the play on the last one, so he is going to miss a little bit of time. Hopefully we get him back here for Game 4."
It was the first time that Calvert did not dress all season, as he was one of four players to skate in every outing during the regular campaign for Colorado. He has three assists in seven games this postseason.
Sven Andrighetto entered the lineup in Calvert's absence. Andrighetto was on a line with Tyson Jost and Gabriel Bourque and finished the game with one shot in 8:54 of ice time.
AVALANCHE NOTES: Tuesday's loss snapped an eight-game home winning streak for the Avalanche. Colorado had not lost at Pepsi Center since March 15 vs. Anaheim and is 13-3-1 in its last 17 outings in Denver dating back to Feb. 18.
Nikita Zadorov's 11 hits is a postseason career high and the most by an Avalanche player in the 2019 playoffs.
Samuel Girard assisted on Nieto's goal to record his first career postseason point.
Video: Avs coach Jared Bednar postgame news conference