Sharks smother Avalanche in blowout win

After chilling a few degrees against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday, the Sharks needed a heat check before heading into the All-Star break.

Turns out they’re as hot as ever.

San Jose celebrated a 6-1 blowout victory over the Colorado Avalanche alongside the marking of Joe Thornton’s 1,300th career point. Thornton’s two assists on the night placed him in the company of just 32 other players in NHL history who have reached the 1,300 point milestone.

Joe Thornton said:

“I’ve played with a lot of good goal scorers and a lot of good players. That’s how (1,300 points) happens. The guys have been telling me how close I’ve been, but you just go out and play and good things happen.”

Tuesday night’s game was also the ninth straight in which the Sharks have added a point to their record, ending a four-game winning streak for the Avalanche.

The Sharks established a slow, possession-based pace early on, neutralizing the transition play of the Avalanche and allowing defensemen Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic to work effectively from the point.

San Jose’s first five shots netted them a 2-0 lead that lasted throughout the opening period. Both scores resulted from scorching outside shots-turned assists, with Melker Karlsson and Tomas Hertl ending up as score sheet beneficiaries.

Melker Karlsson said:

“I think it hit my chest, I couldn’t even see the puck. When Burns is shooting he’s looking up to see me. I don’t have to see him.”

Frustration set in for the Avalanche towards the end of the second, and the Sharks were ready to capitalize. Andreas Martinsen kicked off a lucrative Sharks power play with a boarding penalty that was quickly followed by a tripping foul from defenseman Francois Beauchemin.

Up five players to three, the Sharks lured Calvin Pickard back and forth across the net until Joe Pavelski found an opportunity to leisurely wrist one past the hapless Avalanche goalie.

Assistant Coach Bob Boughner said:

“I thought our power play was big when we needed them. (The Avalanche) stuck around after two to nothing. We had a tough time getting that third one until the power play, so that was great.”

Colorado was allowed to send one player back into the game after Pavelski’s score, but couldn’t prevent Joel Ward from barreling thorough a throng of defenders to punch in a deflected Marc-Edouard Vlasic slapshot.

The Sharks extended their lead to 5-0 in the third, when the Avalanche pulled their goalie surprisingly early in the period. Nathan MacKinnon scored Colorado’s lone goal with just under nine minutes left, and Dylan DeMelo tallied one more Sharks goal in the final minutes before the week-long All-Star break to cement the game’s score at 6-1.

Joe Thornton said:

“When you’re playing this well you want to play every other day like we’ve been doing because you feel so good. But we’ve been playing a lot of minutes, and if the guys use the rest the right way, we’ll be fine coming out of the break.”

The Sharks resume play in Anaheim Feb. 2 when they take on the Ducks to kick off a four-game road trip.