DENVER -- Logan Couture got his first Stanley Cup Playoff hat trick for the San Jose Sharks in a 4-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 3 of the Western Conference Second Round at Pepsi Center on Tuesday.
San Jose leads the best-of-7 series 2-1. Game 4 is at Colorado on Thursday.
"I'd like to lie and say it doesn't mean something, but it was special," Couture said.
[WATCH: Sharks vs. Avalanche Game 3 highlights | Complete series coverage]
Timo Meier had a goal and two assists, Gustav Nyquist had two assists, and Martin Jones made 25 saves for the Sharks.
Nathan MacKinnon scored, and Philipp Grubauer made 27 saves for the Avalanche, who had won eight straight at home.
After Matt Nieto tied it 2-2 with a deflection at 11:45 of the third period, Couture scored 1:05 later to give San Jose a 3-2 lead with a shot from low in the right circle that beat Grubauer short side.
"I think one of their [defensemen] may have turned it over to [Nyquist] at the blue line," Couture said. "At first, I thought it was offside, but the play continued. Got in the corner, knew [Meier] was up a little higher. Kind of looked off the goalie a little bit, and he took a side step to the right and I was able to beat him short side."
Video: SJS@COL, Gm3: Couture restores lead for Sharks
Said Jones: "He's clutch. Big games, big moments in games, he's a guy that every time you can rely on. He was huge again tonight."
Couture, who leads the NHL with nine goals in the playoffs, completed the hat trick with an empty-net goal with 30 seconds remaining to make it 4-2.
"We haven't won (the series), so I don't care what my numbers get to be," Couture said. "I could go this whole playoffs and have zero points, and if we win the Stanley Cup I'll be the happiest guy in this room."
Couture scored to make it 1-0 at 15:24 of the first period. After Meier's shot was blocked in front, Couture pulled the loose puck back and moved to outside the right crease before scoring with a backhand.
Meier extended the lead to 2-0 at 18:42. He intercepted a stretch pass by Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson in the neutral zone, skated into the zone and scored short side from the left circle.
Video: SJS@COL, Gm3: Meier goes bar down to extend lead
MacKinnon cut it to 2-1 at 15:51 of the second period. Colorado defenseman Ian Cole intercepted a stretch pass by Sharks defenseman Brent Burns in the neutral zone and passed to MacKinnon, who skated into the right circle and scored blocker side.
"Down 2-0, we found a way to tie it up," MacKinnon said. "That was nice and we kind of threw it away. We got desperate and started to play well. Our power play wasn't great tonight either (0-for-4), so that kind of hurt us."
Video: SJS@COL, Gm3: MacKinnon comes off bench and scores
Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said he felt a sense of calm on the bench after Colorado tied the game.
"I loved our response," he said. "It was even-keeled. It was just get out there and let's get back at this. We knew at that point it was 2-2, but we deserved to be in a different spot than that. We knew what was working for us and we needed to get back to that."
Video: Enterprise Hat Trick: Couture seals Game 3 for Sharks
They said it
"I thought we played really well. They had a couple good pushes right at the start of the game and a little bit in the second period there, but I thought we defended really, really well. The only time was the MacKinnon goal that they really had a lot of time and space. It was good." -- Sharks goalie Martin Jones
"He's working, he's got a hunger to his game right now, and he's working at the point of the puck and he's working away from it. He wants the puck. He's one of those guys, he is trying to get available and working for the puck all the time because he wants it. He wants to be a difference-maker. We need a few more guys to follow suit with that." -- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar
Need to know
MacKinnon has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in a seven-game point streak. It's the longest playoff streak by an Avalanche player since Peter Forsberg had a seven-game streak in 2004. … Couture has eight points (seven goals, one assist) in his past six games. … Meier has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his past six games. … Jones is 5-1 in his past six starts, allowing 14 goals. … Nyquist arrived in Denver on Tuesday afternoon after flying from Detroit to be with his wife, who gave birth to their first child, Charlotte Nyquist.
Game 4 of Western Conference Second Round at Pepsi Center on Thursday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS)
Video: Couture's hat trick propels Sharks to Game 3 victory