Marleau hits milestone in heartbreaking loss
The Sharks lost their third straight, and hit the midway point of their season with a mediocre 11-7-6 record. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
DENVER – Matt Duchene scored with three-tenths of a second left on the clock in overtime, to give Colorado a 3-2 win over the Sharks on Sunday night at Pepsi Center.
[RELATED: Marleau scores 400th career goal]
On the winning goal, Duchene chipped in a loose puck from the slot as time expired, after P.A. Parenteau's shot from the point was knocked down by Joe Pavelski. It was confirmed as a good goal after a brief video review. The Sharks lost their third straight, and hit the midway point of their season with a mediocre 11-7-6 record.
Overtime featured good end-to-end action and chances for both clubs as they combined for 10 shots, seven from Colorado. On a two-on-one, Patrick Marleau lost his footing but still managed to pass the puck to a wide-open Marc-Edouard Vlasic at the side of the net. Vlasic made a move but was stopped by Semyon Varlamov. Moments later, Duchene raced up the ice and sped past Justin Braun, but his wrist shot was turned away by Antti Niemi.
Logan Couture tied the game in the third period. Joe Thornton swooped in to pounce on a pass attempt up the boards by Matt Hunwick, and fed Couture in the high slot. Couture blasted it past Varlamov at 16:35 to make it 2-2.
The Sharks trailed 1-0 in the second, but went on their first power play at 4:08 of the second. They did everything but put the puck in the net, firing seven shots on Varlamov, including Pavelski’s diving attempt at a loose puck after a Marleau one-timer.
That failure to convert cost them. Just 50 seconds after a penalty to Shane O’Brien expired, Aaron Palushaj skated up the ice on a two-on-two rush. He managed to slide a pass through Douglas Murray to Ryan O’Reilly, who was streaking towards the goal alongside Michal Handzus. O’Reilly got his stick in position to tip the puck past Niemi at 6:58, giving Colorado a 2-0 lead.
The Sharks failed on two more power plays later in the second, but cut into the Avs’ lead anyway. Ryane Clowe won a battle along the boards and pushed the puck to Justin Braun at the point. Marleau tipped Braun’s low shot inside the far post at 19:20 for his team-leading 13th goal and 400th of his distinguished career.
Clowe recorded an assist for the second straight game after going scoreless in the previous eight.
Colorado came out with the early territorial advantage in the third period, recording seven of the first eight shots, but the Sharks had their chances to tie it before Couture's late goal. On a two-on-one rush up ice with Pavelski, Clowe took the shot himself and was turned away.
The Sharks went back to the power play on Ryan O’Byrne interference penalty at 9:06. Couture was robbed by the glove of Varlamov on a one-timer, though, and Gabriel Landeskog dove in front of a Matt Irwin blast to preserve the 2-1 lead for Colorado.
The Avs, who ended Chicago’s point streak on Friday, took the lead early. Adam Burish went to the box on an interference minor, and Duchene’s shot from the circle on a feed through the slot by P.A. Parenteau made it 1-0 at 6:47.
San Jose was scoreless in five attempts with a man advantage, and killed off three of four Colorado chances.
After getting pulled in the third period in his last appearance on Saturday, Niemi made 39 saves. He fell to 10-4-5.
Varlamov started his sixth game in the last seven, and made 36 saves in the win.
TJ Galiardi returned to the lineup against his old team, skating on the fourth line in place of Andrew Desjardins, in the only lineup change from Saturday against the Blues.
This was the first time that the Sharks saw O’Reilly, who signed recently after a lengthy holdout. Duchene missed the previous game in San Jose on Feb. 26 with a groin injury.
The Sharks continue on to St. Louis, where they will close out the season series with the Blues on Tuesday. A home-and-home with the Kings begins on Thursday at HP Pavilion and concludes on Saturday at Staples Center.