This has been a rough calendar year for the San Jose Sharks. Times have been tough for the organization that was once upon a time, the class of the Pacific Division. Now, they will be going into the new year with just nine wins, and have lost eight in a row in regulation, and are winless in their last nine. They are beaten by the Colorado Avalanche 3-1 in Denver to finish the season series with just one point taken against the Avs.
Colorado's powerplay would give the Avalanche the advantage early in this one. Nathan MacKinnon would play catch with everyone, getting it back from the slot, as well as Valeri Nishushkin who was in the bumper position. MacKinnon then fires a pass across the slot to Mikko Rantanen, and Rantanen just fires the puck home to make it a 1-0 lead for the Avalanche very early in this game. Jan Rutta was unable to block the pass that goes through his legs, and Kaapo Kahkonen can't get the glove up in time.
Late in the second, the San Jose Sharks neeeded a goal, and they got just that. Mikael Granlund would get the puck back to the point for Calen Addison before getting iit back from the former Wild defenseman. Granlund then gave it over to Tomas Hertl in the high slot, and the Ninja Hertl made no mistake, as he fires it past the Avs netminder to mark his 700th career NHL games with a goal.
On a delayed call late in the third, the Avalanche would take the lead. Picking up the puck along the boards, Sam Girard would play a pass to MacKinnon, who would backhand a pass over to Jack Johnson. Johnson would fire the puck down to the goal line, where Nishushkin would put it home to give the Avalanche the lead with 3:30 left on the clock. An absolute backbreaker for the Sharks, but the Avs took the lead once again.
With the net empty, the Sharks would lose an offensive zone draw, which Josh Manson would deposit into the yawning cage from 190 feet away. That made it 3-1, and the Sharks lost a game that Kaapo Kahkonen nearly stole. San Jose mustered just 11 shots in this game, and somehow only lost by one goal with a goalie in. That is incredible goaltending. Kahkonen deserved more from this game, but the Sharks just couldn't get it for him.