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Jones continues to struggle is 5-3 loss
Nathan Mackinnon torches Sharks in Denver
1/18/18 - By Mike Lee -

Most professional sports teams strive for consistency in their game. Sharks goaltender Martin Jones has achieved that in his consistently poor play the last two months. Outside of the game against his former team, the Los Angeles Kings earlier this week, Jones has struggled. Those struggles have cost the Sharks, who are fighting to keep pace in the Pacific Division standings. Jones failed to deliver on Thursday night, giving up 5 goals to the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center in Denver, as the Sharks dropped a 5-3 decision.

Jones was particularly bad in the 1st period, giving up three goals in a gut-punch period. To the credit of the Sharks, they fought back to draw within a single goal at 4-3, but they would not be able to overcome the final deficit.

Nathan Mackinnon was the an of the hour in that 1st period. The Avalanche young forward scored a pair of goals in that opening period, then added an assist in the 2nd period when Colorado scored their 4th consecutive goal. Mackinnon opened the games scoring by carrying a puck up the left wing before cutting across the slot and sending a shot between Marc-Edouard Vlasic's skates. Jones was unobstructed, and simply was late to respond.

Mackinnon rifled a power play shot from the top of the left circle a minute later that Jones got a glove on, but couldn't control. The shot works its way through Jones glove hand and trickled over the goal line for the 2-0 Colorado lead.

Carl Soderberg capped the period with his 10th goal of the season with a shot from the doorstep after former Shark forward Matt Nieto set him up with a pass from behind the San Jose net.

Mikko Rantanen tipped a Mackinnon shot 1:34 into the 2nd period past Jones, and the Sharks were down 4-0 before they knew what hit them. Rantanen simply parked in front of the Sharks net with no interference, and was able to let the puck slip between his skates after deflecting while fully obstructing Jones' view.

San Jose tried to battle back. They finally got to Avalanche goaltender Jonathan Bernier with a Timo Meier goal midway through the period. Meier punched home a deflection after Kevin Labanc fired a shot off Bernier's right leg pad.

Vlasic made it a 4-2 game 29 seconds into the 3rd period with a put back after Tomas Hertl missed on a chance from the right post. Vlasic was activating on the play and swooped down the slot to pounce on the rebound. The goal was the 6th of the season for the Sharks defenseman.

Joe Thornton cut the Avalanche lead to a single goal with 15:07 to play as he snapped a Brent Burns feed from the right side past Bernier. Thornton was skating down the left wing, when Burns sent a 40 foot pass from the off wing. It was the 4th consecutive game that Thornton has scored a goal, giving him 12 for the season.

San Jose had plenty of time left in the period, and three Colorado penalties in the period seem to setup the Sharks for the comeback, but their special teams play failed them. San Jose went 0-for-7 on the man advantage, generating 24 shots while on the power play, but Bernier answered the challenge.

The Colorado goaltender finished the evening with 45 saves. It was the antithesis of Jones play. While Jones was letting routine saves fall by the wayside, Bernier was countering with buckets of stops.

As the Sharks struggled to bag the equalizing goal, Colorado had one left in them. Nieto stuck it to his team by tipping a Blake Comeau shot past Jones with 3:14 left to play. It was a bit of sweet revenge for Nieto, who has more goals than all but 6 Sharks skaters this season.

San Jose pulled Jones the final two minutes of the game in desperation, but it was a fruitless endeavor. Game Notes:

* The Avalanche have not trailed in a game since December 27th. It was the 7th consecutive win for Colorado, who has scored first in each of those games.

* Sharks Head Coach Peter DeBoer deflected reporters after the game who were inquiring on Jones sub-par play since December 1st. DeBoer responded the Jones was, "having a great season."

* Brent Burns, Kevin Labanc and Tomas Hertl combined for 20 of the Sharks 48 shots. None of them factored into the game's scoring.





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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 0 1 2 3
COL 3 1 1 5
1st period - 1, COL, Mackinnon 21 (Rantanen, Landeskog), 7:03. 2, COL, Mackinnon 22 (Girard, Rantanen), 8:01, (pp). 3, COL, Soderberg 10 (Mackinnon, Barberio), 18:14.
2nd period - 4, COL, Rantanen 16 (Mackinnon, Barberio), 1:34. 5, SJ, Meier 9 (Labanc, Vlasic), 9:44.
3rd period - 6, SJ, Vlasic 6 (Labanc, Couture), 0:29. 7, SJ, Thornton 12 (Burns, Pavelski), 4:53. 8, COL, Nieto 9 (Comeau), 16:46.
Penalties
1st period - Couture, SJ (tripping), 7:29; Toninato, COL (tripping), 11:47; Zadorov, COL (slashing), 18:47.
2nd period - Kerfoot, COL (interference), 7:44; Braun, SJ (hooking), 11:45; Johnson, COL (slashing), 17:26.
3rd period - Donskoi, SJ (tripping), 1:46; Nemeth, COL (tripping), 7:35; Landeskog, COL (interference), 10:24; Goodrow, SJ (slashing), 13:59; Landeskog, COL (slashing), 19:01.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Jones 22 17
COL - Bernier 48 45
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 10 17 21 48
COL 9 7 6 22
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 7
COL 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Nathan Mackinnon
Jonathan Bernier
Mikko Rantanen
Attendance
Pepsi Center - 14,349
Officials
Referees: Nicholson, Dwyer. Linesmen: Galloway, Cherrey.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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