Grubauer helps Avs break 3-game slide in 3-0 win over Sharks

Gabriel Landeskog and Cale Makar scored power-play goals 2 minutes apart in the first period, Philipp Grubauer stopped 21 shots in his return from the league’s COVID-19 protocols and the Colorado Avalanche beat the San Jose Sharks 3-0

DENVER — Gabriel Landeskog and Cale Makar scored power-play goals 2 minutes apart in the first period, Philipp Grubauer stopped 21 shots in his return from the league’s COVID-19 protocols and the Colorado Avalanche beat the San Jose Sharks 3-0 on Friday night.

Grubauer showed no signs of rust in his first game since April 12. It was his sixth shutout of the season.

Mikko Rantanen added two assists and an empty-net goal for the Avalanche, who ended a three-game slide. Rantanen and Joonas Donskoi, who also had an assist, both were returning from the virus protocol list.

San Jose and Colorado square off again Saturday.

The serenade of “Gruuu-bi” by the sparse crowd only grew louder as the game wore on. Grubauer has a career-best 26 wins this season.

Grubauer went on the virus protocol list on April 14 and the team had a pause two days later with Donskoi also joining Grubauer on the list. Rantanen was added when the Avalanche were shut down.

The Sharks thought they had a goal from Tomas Hertl on a power play midway through the third period to make it 2-1. But the goal was nullified after the Avalanche won a challenge that the play was offsides.

Nathan MacKinnon was held in check on the offensive end as his 15-game point streak was snapped. His biggest contribution was sticking up for teammate Samuel Girard, who was knocked into the boards by Kevin Labanc in the third. MacKinnon exchanged punches with Labanc before both were separated and assessed penalties for fighting. Girard gingerly skated off and slammed his stick against the boards before exiting.

MacKinnon didn’t register a shot on net. He had recorded at least one shot in a franchise-record 263 consecutive regular-season games before Friday.

Makar finished with a goal and an assist to give him 37 points (six goals, 31 assists) in 36 games this season. He entered the game as the only NHL defenseman to average a point-per-game this season.

Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 33 saves.

San Jose struggled on four power-play chances and is now 0 for 28 spanning its last 10 games.

TOP SECRET

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said Friday morning he will no longer give out his line pairings before a game.

“I don’t feel like I should be giving San Jose extra time to prepare — or any team for that matter,” Bednar said. “Just going to have to wait and see at game time.”

NHL DEBUT

Sharks left wing Ivan Chekhovich made his NHL debut Friday. A seventh-round pick by San Jose in 2017, the 22-year-old started the season in the Kontinental Hockey League before joining the San Jose Barracuda of the American Hockey League. Chekhovich said he was so anxious for his debut that he could barely sleep.

“I don’t have words,” he said.

THIS & THAT

Sharks LW John Leonard was a scratch to give him some rest. … Avs D Ryan Graves suffered an upper-body injury early in the game and didn’t return.

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