The Colorado Avalanche really needed to stop the bleeding defensively after the past few games.
Not letting the opposing team touch the puck is an easy way to do that.
The Avalanche came out flying, and never let up against a bad Sharks team. San Jose, who played the night before, did not look like they belonged on the same ice as the home team. The Avalanche scored early and often on their way to an easy 6-0 victory.
With the win, the Avalanche snapped their three game losing streak and moved back into third place in the Central division.
Cale Makar and Valeri Nichushkin led the way, as each finished with four points. Nathan MacKinnon, Devon Toews, and Artturi Lehkonen all contributed two points each.
Alexandar Georgiev finished with a 13 save shutout. It was perhaps the easiest shutout of his career.
If you were looking for a big response from the Avalanche, you got it in the first period. The ice in the Avalanche end probably didn’t even need to be cleaned during the intermission.
The Avalanche outshot the Sharks 19-2 in the first period. Noted sniper Kurtis MacDermid even had more shots on net than the Sharks in the opening period.
And the Avalanche took advantage of the tilted ice, with their big guns leading the way.
Just 4:08 into the game, some hard work by Lehkonen and Nichushkin in the corner created the first goal of the game. Nichushkin sent the puck out to Toews, who hit Makar at the center point. Makar sent the puck through a Lehkonen screen, beating Kahkonen on the glove side.
Nine minutes later, the Avalanche scored a nearly identical goal.
This time, it was MacKinnon at the center point. He took a pass from Toews and also beat Kahkonen high glove, giving the Avalanche the two goal lead.
Moments later, Rantanen, who took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the prior game, showed some restraint, and it paid off.
After getting cross-checked into the boards, the Finnish winger looked at the refs, but didn’t say anything. About ten seconds later, he found himself on an odd-man rush with Samuel Girard. The defenseman sent the puck to Rantanen, who fired the puck past Kahkonen, making it 3-0.
The Avalanche took that three goal lead into the second period, out-attempting the Sharks 31-6 in the first.
It didn’t get any better for the Sharks in the second.
Just 1:22 into the period, The Avalanche hit the back of the net again. Makar sent a shot designed for a tip towards the net, and Nichushkin, who was skating away from the net, deflected the puck into the net, making it 4-0.
83 seconds later, Denis Malgin got in on the action. He took a drop pass from Matt Nieto and beat Kahkonen short side. That goal ended Kahkonen’s night, as he was replaced by veteran James Reimer.
The Sharks got some power plays, but could barely hold onto the puck. Georgiev stopped the few shots that actually came his way.
With under two minutes remaining in the period, Makar created more magic. He danced around his defender at the point, then took the puck down the boards. The Sharks defenseman was mesmerized by Makar, and he sent a pass to a wide open Lehkonen in front, who beat Reimer up high.
They took that six goal lead into the third period, while holding the lowly Sharks to just seven shots on net through two periods.
The third period provided no goals, but the entertainment came in other ways.
Early in the period, Erik Karlsson took a high stick in the offensive zone that went uncalled by the refs. The unhappy star defenseman went to the bench, and voiced his displeasure with those referees. That got him a two-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, but he wanted more. He took his helmet off and launched it across the ice. That move got him a 10 minute misconduct, and saw him sit the majority of the third period.
When the buzzer sounded, the Sharks shot count was only up to 13. A tough night for the opposing team, as the Avalanche took it to them for the 6-0 victory.
The Avalanche will stay at home and look to build off this victory. On Thursday night, they take on the Los Angles Kings at Ball Arena. The game starts at 7 PM MST.