DENVER -- A disjointed and inconsistent performance left the Colorado Avalanche on the wrong side of Game 3 of the Western Conference Second Round against the San Jose Sharks at Pepsi Center on Tuesday.
The Avalanche trailed in the first period, tied it in the third period but eventually lost 4-2 to trail the best-of-7 series 2-1.
Game 4 is here Thursday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).
[RELATED: Sharks recover against Avalanche in Game 3 | Complete series coverage]
"We fight back to tie it up with [8:15] to go and the whole third period I thought we were pushing and we had some good looks," Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said. "It comes down to a mistake, a turnover, and it ends up in the back of the net."
The mistake was created when Landeskog and Colorado defenseman Nikita Zadorov were being pressured by the forecheck of Timo Meier. It was Landeskog's turnover from low along the left boards in the Colorado zone that was intercepted by Gustav Nyquist.
Nyquist got the puck quickly down to teammate Logan Couture, who restored the Sharks' lead at 12:50 of the third period, 65 seconds after Matt Nieto tied it 2-2.
Video: SJS@COL, Gm3: Couture restores lead for Sharks
"We did a good job battling back and then we threw it away late," said Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, who scored to extend his Stanley Cup Playoff point streak to seven games (five goals, seven assists). "We just couldn't find it. They outplayed us. We were turning a lot of pucks over, big turnovers, costly ones. You know, 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 -- and then we lost it again. It's unfortunate."
Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said they might have relaxed briefly after their strong push tied the game, but that their problems in Game 3 were larger than that.
"To me, it was similar to what was going on in the first and the second," Bednar said. "The story for me in that game ... to me we didn't consistently work for the puck, we didn't talk to the puck and in turn our execution was poor and we made some boneheaded decisions with the puck, too, at times, so the bulk of their scoring chances came off turnover plays and mismanaging the puck. It was poor execution."
Video: SJS@COL, Gm3: Grubauer turns away Hertl and Kane
After an even start by each team, the Sharks won more races and had more scoring opportunities, and they converted two of them, by Couture and Meier, to establish a 2-0 lead. San Jose outshot Colorado 13-7 in the first period.
Bednar said the Avalanche showed again they can be stubborn, not getting the puck into the offensive zone and making Sharks defensemen go all the way back for it.
"We were ... not fully bought in on what we had to do with the puck," he said. "What we'll sell is that our chances in Game 1 and Game 2 came when we put pucks in behind their [defensemen] and we went to work. And we weren't stubborn with the puck. When we're trying to be cute with it, it leads more often than not to chances and [offensive] zone possession time for them and not for us."