With the enormous talent at the top and the best defensive pairing, the Avalanche took the lead with a 27-0-1 lead in the third third of this season. But that probability didn’t pay off on Wednesday night at the SAP Center in San Jose, where top line and top pairing were pointless and resulted in a combined minus of 10.
“Our review by this group of guys is not sufficiently important,” said Avs manager Jared Bednar of strikers Nathan MacKinnon, Gabe Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen and defenders Cale Makar and Devon Toews, who are both down 2.
Colorado, with its top players, lost 3-2 to Sharks – with a 2-0 lead and three goals in the last 21 minutes.
“For the most part, we had guys who played hard. We did some good things, ”said Bednar. “We stayed at it, stayed at it and built a 2-0 lead, and then we kind of gave it back to them because we stopped checking. If you don’t check, you won’t win. “
The Avs saw the end of their three-game winning streak and MacKinnon failed to score a point on the road for the first time in 18 games. Failing to score a point as a team, playoff-tied Colorado lost ground to the Vegas Golden Knights and Minnesota Wild in the Wild West Division Seeing Race. The Knights defeated the Wild on Wednesday in overtime, and Vegas extended their lead on runner-up Avs to four points, and third-placed Minnesota took on one from Colorado.
The Avs (34-13-4), who have five regular season games remaining, have one game against Vegas (37-13-2) and Minnesota (33-14-5).
Sharks striker Tomas Hertl, who played his 500th game, was involved in all three goals and met goalkeeper Philipp Grubauer twice (30 saves).
San Jose scored two goals in the first 10 minutes of the third period and took a 3-2 lead – the first of the game. Hertl scored 2:50 in the frame and Erik Karlsson scored a power play goal at 9:18.
The Avs committed the only two penalties in the third period and both went on the offensive – Landeskog for hooking and Burakowski for boarding. Karlsson capitalized with Landeskog in the penalty area.
“We took two penalties 200 feet from our net,” said Bednar. “One behind her net, one on her end boards. They give talented groups the opportunity to stay in the game and win the game in the end. “
After a goalless first third, the Avalanche met twice too late in the second and took a 2-0 lead. Strikers Tyson Jost and Andre Burakovsky scored the goals – Jost with a backhand from a rebound and Burakovsky with a wrist shot from the left circle.
San Jose, however, halved their deficit by just 13 seconds. Hertl typed in a 2v0 feed from Evander Kane. Makar and Toews were both beaten in the game after the top line failed to reach the puck in the offensive zone.
“It’s disappointing to say the least,” said Jost of the loss. “We got off to a good start and gave ourselves the chance to win the ice hockey game in the third. We just didn’t do it. We did not meet our standards … That is unacceptable in our changing room. “
Forward Alex Newhook made his NHL debut for the Avs, who selected him with the 16th pick of the 2019 draft. Newhook, a 20-year-old center, joined the Avs on Sunday after eight games with the AHL’s Colorado Eagles to begin his professional career.
He had five goals and nine points to lead the Eagles in scoring this stretch.
“He seems like a real mature player. He has a good understanding of how we want to play, ”Bednar said of Newhook after his morning skate in San Jose. “He did very well with the Eagles in that short time. Looks like he’s ready. “
Newhook had a shot in 13:20 Ice Age on his debut.
Newhook, who signed with the Avs on March 31 after two seasons with Boston College, took on a top six role and formed the second row with Nazem Kadri and Burakovsky. Carl Soderberg dropped to one of the bottom six places and fourth-row winger Pine Sherwood was scratched.
“Really proud to be here, excited to come here with this group of guys,” said Newhook. “You kind of dream about this day. I’ve dreamed about it all my life. It is exciting. I immediately called my parents; you are the first to know. So far it has been great trying to record everything. “
He added, “The (Avs) boys made me a great welcome and gave me some pointers.”
Newhook was the 2020 Tim Taylor Award winner for NCAA Rookie of the Year. He accumulated 58 points in 46 career games for Boston College. In college and at the beginning of his professional career, for example, he averaged more than one point per game.
“I think it’s been a good transition,” said Newhook of moving from college to the pros.
Footnote. The Avs, who now play two games in Los Angeles on Friday and Saturday, finished 6-2 against the Sharks. … Grubauer was supported by third string Jonas Johansson. Second goalkeeper Devan Dubnyk remains on the NHL COVID log in San Jose after testing positive for the virus. It was acquired by the sharks last month. … Defender Jacob MacDonald returned after seven games with an injury to replace Dan Renouf.