SAN JOSE (AP) — Logan Couture scored his NHL-leading 16th go-ahead goal six minutes into the third period and the San Jose Sharks improved their chances for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs with a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night.
Justin Braun, Tomas Hertl and Joonas Donskoi also scored for the Sharks, who snapped a four-game losing streak and kept their one-point lead over the Anaheim Ducks for second-place in the Pacific Division.
Mikko Rantanen and Blake Comeau scored for the Avalanche, who missed an opportunity to increase their lead over the St. Louis Blues for a playoff spot.
Martin Jones stopped 23 shots for the Sharks. Jonathan Bernier saved 32 for the Avalanche.
Less than three minutes into the first period, Braun scored on a slap shot from just inside the blue line that deflected off the arm or stick of a Colorado defender, giving Bernier no chance to adjust.
The Avalanche tied the score with a power-play goal at 15:17. Jones blocked the first two shots but could not control them. The second bounced free toward the side, and Rantanen was able to get it by a diving Jones.
Tyson Barrie earned an assist on the play, giving him a career-best 43. His 56 points match Rob Blake for most by an Avalanche defenseman in the past 16 years.
Colorado has scored on the power play in each of its last four games and is 6 of 11 during that span. It also has allowed a power-play goal in each of the past five games.
Couture scored on a power play 77 seconds after the Avalanche tied the game. Kevin Labanc recorded the first assist with a nice crossing pass.
Donskoi scored midway through the final period to make it 3-1. Dylan DeMelo took a shot that Bernier stopped but Donsoi took it away and put it in the net before Bernier could cover.
Two minutes later, Comeau redirected a shot by David Warsofsky to make it 3-2.
Hertl scored an empty-net goal in the final two seconds.
NOTES: Colorado C Carl Soderberg played in his 399th NHL game. … Couture has points in three of his last four games. … Sharks F Evander Kane missed his second straight game as a result of an upper-body injury sustained last Saturday in Las Vegas.
Sharks: Host Minnesota on Saturday in the regular-season finale.
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