SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Talk about a frantic finish.
The San Jose Sharks couldn't hold onto a late lead Monday night against the Colorado Avalanche, got the goal they needed from Joe Pavelski to force overtime with 19.6 seconds left in the third period, and emerged when it was all over with a 5-4 shootout victory.
Logan Couture -- still mired in a 10-game goal drought -- and Patrick Marleau scored in the shootout, and Sharks goalie Antti Niemi stopped Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene.
The Sharks carried a 3-2 lead into the game's final two minutes, only to fall behind on a power-play goal by Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson at 18:09 and another by center John Mitchell at 18:21 with Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov on the bench in favor of an extra attacker.
But Pavelski's tally with just 19.6 seconds left tied the game at 4-4 and sent it into overtime.
San Jose entered the third period leading on goals by Jason Demers, Brent Burns and Matt Irwin, while rookie MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog had scored for Colorado.
This was the first meeting of the season between the Sharks and Avalanche, a team that trailed San Jose in the conference standings by two points and one that doesn't quite fit the mold of other Western powers, relying more on speed than size.
"It seems like it's been stretches against teams that play certain ways -- St. Louis and L.A. were big, strong teams," Couture said before the game, "then we go (to) Dallas and these guys who are very quick up front, very skilled up front. Their skill players are tough to defend. It's going to be a fast game, and we've got to be ready for it."
The speed was there at the start in a fast-paced first period that saw the Sharks holding their own until just before the intermission.
The teams traded power-play goals midway through the period with rookie MacKinnon, who drew a tripping call against Tommy Wingels, giving the Avalanche a 1-0 lead at 11:05 when his shot from the high slot deflected off Andrew Desjardins' stick and into the Sharks net.
That was offset a little less than three minutes later with Colorado defenseman Andre Benoit off for elbowing when Joe Thornton sent the puck to Demers at the top of the left faceoff circle and he beat Varlamov for his second goal of the season -- and second in two games.
San Jose was applying pressure late in the period, but it was Colorado that took a 2-1 lead with 48.9 seconds left on a transition play. The Sharks left Landeskog unchecked as he skated into the slot and beat Niemi.
The Sharks, however, dominated the Avalanche in the second period, outshooting Colorado 21-5 and getting two goals for the effort.
Burns tied the score with a blast from the right faceoff circle just after coming over the boards on a line change at 5:53. And Irwin, who clanked a shot off the post in the opening minute of the period, gave the Sharks a 3-2 lead at 13:02.
And that's where the score stood until the goal barrage in the third period's final two minutes.
The Sharks, as does every NHL team under terms of the new bargaining agreement, now have three days away from the rink before flying to Phoenix early Friday morning for a game that night against the Coyotes.
The Sharks are still trying to find the right forward combinations now that they know injured rookie Tomas Hertl will be out for more than a month after knee surgery next week.
"We'll shuffle people around over the next little bit until we find comfortable combinations again," coach Todd McLellan said before the game. "We're still not where we need to be and where we were. ... We still have work to do, and we're trying to find the right way to get it done."
Against Colorado, McLellan put his standard pairs back together after separating them in Saturday night's 3-2 shootout win over the Dallas Stars. Thornton and Burns were reunited as well as Marleau and Couture.
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