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MacKinnon, power play lead Avalanche past Sharks

by Eric Gilmore /

SAN JOSE -- Nathan MacKinnon ended his 14-game goal drought with his second career hat trick, leading the Colorado Avalanche to a 6-3 victory against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Monday.

MacKinnon scored two of Colorado's season-high four power play goals; Carl Soderberg and Blake Comeau also scored on the man-advantage for Colorado (18-17-2), which went 4-for-6. Matt Duchene had an even-strength goal.

"I think we have so many different options," MacKinnon said of the power play. "I think all of our goals were from a different variety. A tip, off the rush, back door. We've been struggling a little bit in that department. Hopefully it gives us some confidence."

Patrick Marleau, Melker Karlsson and Tomas Hertl scored for the Sharks (17-16-2). Goaltender Martin Jones allowed five goals on 25 shots.

MacKinnon scored an empty-net goal with 1:28 left for the hat trick. He had his first three-goal game on Feb. 22 against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Pepsi Center.

"Tough slump obviously with 14 games," MacKinnon said. "They come in bunches sometimes and obviously it's nice to get on the board and get the win."

The Avalanche defeated the Sharks in San Jose for the first time since Feb. 6, 2008, ending a 13-game streak, one that Colorado coach Patrick Roy was well aware of.

"Yeah, yeah, but I love this building," Roy said. "As a player, I always played well here. I didn't lose that many games. I hope it's going to be the same as a coach."

The four power play goals allowed were a season-high for San Jose, which fell to 4-10-0 at home.

"I don't have a reason," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "Hooking, holding … we took six (penalties). You're playing with fire any time you take that many penalties. They had four power-play goals. That was the difference in the game.

"Our penalty kill has been arguably the best in the League over the last two months. It wasn't good tonight. They were making plays through us. Their goalie was better than ours too. That's a bad formula."

Avalanche backup goaltender Calvin Pickard made 35 saves in his first NHL start of the season. Pickard was recalled Friday from San Antonio of the American Hockey League and replaced the injured Reto Berra (ankle) on the active roster.

"It was nice," Pickard said. "It wasn't an easy task coming in here back-to-back, but it's pretty nice when your team scores six goals for you. That gives you a lot of breathing room. I was able to get into it early with a few shots right off the bat. I felt pretty good all the way through, minus that third goal. It was a big game for us, a lot of great efforts. Power play was huge, penalty kill was huge. It was a big win."

"Calvin made some great saves early in the game, kept us in the game and helped us to play with the lead," Roy said.

Avalanche forward Jarome Iginla, who scored his 599th career goal Sunday against the Arizona Coyotes, had an assist but did not score Monday.

Colorado took a 3-2 lead into the third period, and Comeau made it 4-2 at 7:09 with a power-play goal at 7:09, but Hertl answered with his fourth goal of the season at 8:07.

MacKinnon quickly gave Colorado another two-goal lead. With Tommy Wingels in the penalty box for hooking, MacKinnon scored from the left circle at 8:44.

The Sharks had four penalties in the first period to none for Colorado, and the Avalanche capitalized, scoring two power-play goals to take a 2-1 lead.

"We were just putting our sticks in the wrong spots and the refs were calling it," Marleau said. "We took certain players out of the game because we were killing too much. They have some highly skilled players and they zip it around pretty good. If you give them enough chances they have that extra burst."

After San Jose killed its 21st straight penalty, MacKinnon scored a power-play goal at 8:46 on a 3-on-2 rush with Joe Thornton in the box for tripping Duchene.

Iginla sent the puck ahead to Soderberg, who passed it to MacKinnon in the right circle where he beat Jones with a wrist shot.

The Sharks pulled even 81 seconds later on Marleau's 14th goal of the season. Colorado forward Jack Skille turned the puck over along the boards, and Joel Ward sent it to Marleau, who skated past Francois Beauchemin, cut to the middle and sent a wrist shot that bounced off of Pickard's glove and over the goal line at 10:07.

Colorado made it 2-1 at 14:28 of the first period when Soderberg redirected Beauchemin's shot from the point past Jones on the power play with Brenden Dillon in the penalty box for hooking.

Duchene extended Colorado's lead to 3-1 at 11:19 of the second with his team-high 17th goal of the season. He got the puck along the left boards, skated along the goal line toward the post, spun and beat Jones with a backhand shot through traffic.

The goal was Duchene's 143rd of his career and moved him past Dale Hunter into sole possession of 10th place on the franchise's all-time list. Hunter played for the Quebec Nordiques from 1980-87 and 12 games for the Avalanche during the 1998-99 season.

Karlsson cut Colorado's lead to 3-2 at 13:58 of the second with his fourth goal of the season and first since Nov. 19 against the Philadelphia Flyers. Thornton sent a pass from below the goal line to Karlsson in the slot, where he beat Pickard with a wrist shot.

Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog was hit in the face with the puck on a shot by Sharks defenseman Dylan DeMelo and went to the dressing room with 7:17 left in the second period, but he returned for the start of the third.

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