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(Saturday, January 4th)
Final Score: Colorado 4, San Jose 3
Denver, CO (SportsNetwork.com) - Jamie McGinn, Erik Johnson and Nathan MacKinnon scored in a span of 1:06 early in the second period, and Colorado held off San Jose to post a 4-3 victory at Pepsi Center.
"We had a real good first half of the game. We stayed with the puck and played well against a very good team," said Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy. "Obviously after that, we lost our focus a bit. They were pressing in the third, and we were defending too much without pressing back."
MacKinnon registered his first career two-goal effort, while Paul Stastny added a pair of assists for the Avalanche, who nearly wasted a four-goal advantage but held on to match a franchise record with their 26th win of the season.
Only the Stanley Cup-champion squad from 2000-01 matched the feat, going 26-8-7 at the halfway point of that campaign.
Semyon Varlamov was strong down the stretch, making 30 stops.
Patrick Marleau picked up a goal and two helpers for the Sharks, while Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture supplied offense in the club's second loss in three outings.
Antti Niemi was pulled after yielding three goals on 14 shots in almost 26 minutes of action. Alex Stalock ended up stopping 6-of-7 shots the rest of the way.
"We sure don't want to be down 2-0, let alone 4-0 at any time," said Sharks center Joe Thornton. "We played good enough to win from then. It was getting to the point where I thought we could come back."
McGinn netted his third score in as many games, capitalizing off a Dan Boyle turnover at the right side of the crease and beating Niemi high to the short side at 4:53 of the second.
Johnson made it 3-0 only 52 seconds later, when his bouncing shot from the boards near the right point short-hopped Niemi, hit the far post and caromed in.
Stalock spelled Niemi, but 14 seconds later he was rudely welcomed to the contest as McKinnon picked the far corner high from the right wing to cap the burst and leave the hosts up by four.
"I was going for the left side. Thankfully it was good because I had a lot of speed up the wing," MacKinnon noted. "It was exciting, because we definitely did not intend to let them back into the game at that point."
Pavelski put San Jose on the board with two seconds left on a two-man edge at 8:35, and the Sharks made it 4-2 with 9:49 left as Marleau scored during a delayed penalty call.
Couture picked up a Marleau rebound and beat Varlamov for a one-goal game at 5:44 of the third period.
Avs forward Jan Hejda was sent off for hooking with 4:02 left in regulation, and Varlamov turned away a Pavelski breakaway and the subsequent rebound from Brent Burns in close.
Stalock vacated his net for an extra skater with 1:40 on the clock, but the Sharks had nothing left in the tank.
MacKinnon gave the Avs a lead just under a minute into the game's first power play, connecting with 4:32 left in the opening period.
Colorado scored its fastest three goals of the year in the burst, which was only 15 seconds slower than the franchise mark of 51 seconds, set in a 9-2 win at Vancouver on Mar. 8, 2004. In that contest, Steve Konowalchuk, Joe Sakic and Darby Hendrickson fueled a five-goal opening period with their tallies ... Prior to the game, the Sharks placed forward Tommy Wingels on injured reserve and recalled forward Eriah Hayes from Worcester of the AHL ... Couture has recorded at least one goal in four straight games.
01/04 18:19:28 ET