San Jose scores final six goals to defeat Avalanche 6-2

The first game to begin the Avalanche’s busiest month in club history turned into a dud.

Colorado, which entered Monday on a three-game road winning streak, scored the first two goals of the game but lost control and absorbed a 6-2 defeat against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center.

Tied 2-2 after two periods, the Sharks got goals from Rudolfs Balcers, Erik Karlsson (power play) and John Leonard within a seven-minute span in the third in winning the opener of the two-game set in San Jose.

Evander Kane scored an empty-net goal with 1:07 remaining for San Jose, which was outshot by a 2-to-1 margin early and 35-27 for the game.

“We kind of gave this win to them,” said Avs winger Mikko Rantanen, who appeared in his 300th career game. “Start of the third period it’s a 2-2 hockey game on the road and the first five minutes were in the D-zone. For the whole five minutes, we’re in the D-zone. I don’t think that’s the start you’re looking for in a road game, (tied) 2-2.”

He added: “It’s very frustrating.”

The Avs’ Sam Girard and Gabe Landeskog scored to give goalie Philipp Grubauer a 2-0 lead, but it was all downhill from there as Colorado played the first of 17 games in 31 days this month.

The Avalanche was without two important young defensemen. Cale Makar, 22, didn’t make the trip to San Jose. He instead flew to Denver on his own from Arizona on Sunday to be further evaluated for an upper-body injury that kept him out of Saturday’s 6-2 win against the Coyotes. Bo Byram, 19, was scratched after the morning skate, with the club saying he, too, has an upper-body injury.

Daniel Renouf again stepped in for Makar and Conor Timmins came off the taxi squad to replace Byram.

Colorado built a 2-0 lead with a late first-period goal from Girard and a power-play goal from Landeskog early in the second.

Girard’s goal, a wrister from the right circle, marked the 14th time in 19 games the Avalanche scored first. The Avs dropped to 10-3-1 when doing so. Landeskog’s backhand from beside the net served as the 203rd tally of his career, surpassing fellow Swede Peter Forsberg for third-most in an Avalanche sweater.