DENVER -- Different team, same result.
With Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen sidelined by injuries, the Sharks faced a Colorado Avalanche squad in Denver Tuesday featuring significantly less firepower than the team that beat them on Jan. 18.
Regardless, the Avalanche found a way to squeak out a 3-1 win in the rematch without their top two scorers, capitalizing on a pair of defensive miscues by blue liner Brenden Dillon.
The loss ended the Sharks' road trip on a sour note as they flew back to San Jose with a 2-2-1 record despite outshooting the Avalanche 39-20 Tuesday.
The loss cut the Sharks' lead over the Anaheim Ducks for second place in the Pacific Division to two points.
The Avalanche beat the Sharks 5-3 on Jan. 18 behind a two-goal, three-point game from MacKinnon, extending their winning streak to eight games.
They spoiled the Sharks' near-perfect first period Tuesday by scoring a pair of gift-wrapped goals.
Gabriel Bourque opened the scoring at 2:31 of the second, punching in a pass from J.T Compher on a two-on-one play. The Avalanche (29-19-4) received an odd-man rush because Dillon fell as he was trying to clear the puck out of his own zone, allowing Tyson Jost to recover the puck at the blue line and feed it ahead to Compher.
Dillon also got victimized on the Avalanche's second goal just 2:14 later.
Jost made it 2-0 on another Avalanche rush play by taking a stretch pass from Nail Yakupov and beating Dillon at the blue line before he fired the puck past goalie Martin Jones' glove.