DENVER -- The road isnt so friendly to the Sharks, after all.San Jose concluded its brief three-game trek with an 0-1-2 mark after losing in a shootout to the Colorado Avalanche, 4-3, on Tuesday night at Pepsi Center. The Sharks salvaged a point with a late goal from Patrick Marleau in the last minute of regulation, but Milan Hejduk and Gabriel Landeskog scored in the shootout to send San Jose to its seventh defeat in the last nine games (2-5-2).The Sharks were feeling pretty good themselves on Dec. 8, when they concluded a homestand with a convincing win over the Dallas Stars and the road trip on the horizon. San Jose had won seven of 10 games away from HP Pavilion at that point, and the players seemed excited about getting away for an extended trip for the first time since late October.
Instead, they lost a 1-0 decision to St. Louis on Saturday in which the offense was non-existent, followed by a 3-2 overtime defeat to Chicago where they surrendered a late lead.In fact, the Sharks blew 2-1 third period leads in the final two games of the trip, including Tuesdays loss.Thats probably the thing that sticks out to me, said Dan Boyle, who had a goal and an assist and was a 2 against Colorado. Were not scoring very many goals right now, we have to keep teams to one or two. Second game in a row we get the lead in the third, and we gave it away.There was that phase in the third period where we sat back on our heels, and you cant win like that, said Todd McLellan.The Sharks and Avalanche meet again at HP Pavilion on Thursday.Trailing 3-2, the Sharks tied the game at 19:38 of the third period. Logan Couture gathered in a loose puck, skated towards the net, and backhanded a perfect pass through the slot to Marleau who wristed it in.After a scoreless overtime, Landeskog and Hejduk scored on Antti Niemi in the shootout for the Avalanche, while the Sharks Joe Pavelski was the only one to get a puck past Semyon Varlamov.While surrendering a lead in the third period isnt ideal, the Sharks were able to prevent the trip from being a complete disaster with Marleaus late goal just his second in the last 10 games. Boyle, also, has not exactly been lighting it up on either end of the ice this season. He scored for the first time since Nov. 7 for just his second of the season.McLellan is hopeful that goals and points from some of his slumping players can help get things moving in the right direction offensively. Marleau and Boyle got the goals, but Joe Thornton, Pavelski and Couture all got on the scoresheet with assists.Lets hope so, because its been a long time coming, said the coach. Its great to see Boyle get on the board five-on-five, and Patty finally getting there. Were still waiting for some others.Colorado scored twice in the third period to take a 3-2 lead.First it was Daniel Winnik. After Niemi stopped Erik Johnsons blast, the Sharks goaltender leaned forward as if to gather in the puck. Winnik got to it first, though, and his wraparound beat Niemi before the goaltender was able to recover at 6:31.The Sharks 28th-ranked NHL penalty killing unit failed in its one and only attempt with Colin White off on a holding call at 10:16. Matt Duchesne was left alone at the point as Couture was caught out of position, and the shifty forward found the top corner at 11:51 to give Colorado a 3-2 lead it would maintain until Marleaus late marker.I thought they upped the ante and increased the speed and the play, said McLellan of Colorado. Not necessarily right away, but five or six shifts into the period. We didnt respond well until they scored, and then we got desperate again and started to play the way we were earlier in the game.We have the talent and the ingredients to play on our toes, so weve got to fix that.Playing on their toes is something the Sharks failed to do late in the first period, as well. With the game still scoreless and the clock winding down, Colorados Stefan Elliott skated end-to-end while flying past Jamie McGinn, Marleau and Marc-Edouard Vlasic before firing a wrist shot past Niemi from the circle.It was inexcusable goal, and a microcosm of the Sharks tendency to fall asleep at times.It was a line change, and we just backed right in. They came in, got a good shot off and it went in, but we definitely didnt get up in the neutral zone in order to force him to make a play, said Marleau. We gave him a lot of room to skate.The Sharks got on the board with just their second power play goal in the last nine games early in the second period. Boyle controlled the puck, skated towards the center of the ice high just inside the blue line, and spotted McGinn cutting towards the net. McGinns perfect redirection of Boyles low tape-to-tape pass evened the score at 3:16.That ended a 1-for-28 stretch for the Sharks with a man advantage, including an ineffective first period power play.San Jose took its first lead of the game at 13:39 of the second. Torrey Mitchell did the grunt work behind the net, finding Pavelski in the circle. Pavelskis attempt deflected off of Paul Stastnys skate to Boyle in the high slot, and the Sharks defenseman buried a wrist shot.It wouldnt last.Odds and ends: McGinn has five goals in his last seven games. Frazer McLaren and Matt Irwin were the Sharks healthy scratches. Colorado ended a three-game losing streak but increased its home winning streak to four. Niemi finished with 30 saves, while Varlamov had 27. The Sharks won 36 of 62 faceoffs (58 percent). Colorado out-hit the Sharks, 30-9.