David Zalubowski/APSharks goalie Antti Niemi made 31 saves in Tuesday's 3-2 shootout win over the Avalanche.

Niemi has 31 saves as Sharks top Avalanche, 3-2

DENVER — Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski scored in the shootout to help the Sharks beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Antti Niemi stopped 31 shots and both Avalanche players in the shootout to give the Sharks the win.

Semyon Varlamov had a season-high 49 saves and Alex Tanguay and Gabriel Landeskog scored in regulation for the Avalanche, who have one win in four home games this season.

Marleau and Pavelski came through as the first two shooters to put the pressure on Colorado in the shootout. Niemi stopped Tanguay and then made a glove save on Matt Duchene to end the game.

After a stingy first two periods the teams scored goals 1:59 apart in the third. Landeskog gave Colorado a 2-1 lead with his fourth goal of the season 3:04 in the period. Logan Couture answered when he scored on a rebound at 5:03.

San Jose reached its season high in shots with more than three minutes left in the second period. The Sharks were swarming Varlamov but he had big saves on Joe Pavelski, Marleau and Joe Thornton to keep Colorado close.

His skaters finally came through on a short-handed chance late in the second. Erik Johnson’s clearing attempt to the San Jose blueline was mishandled by Burns and scooped up by Tanguay. Tanguay skated around Logan Couture and beat Niemi high to tie it at 1-1. It was his fourth goal of the season.

San Jose had a 41-17 shot advantage heading into the third.

The Sharks led 1-0 after the first despite outplaying Colorado for the entire period. San Jose held a 23-8 advantage in shots and at one point had 14 straight on Varlamov. The only one to get past him was Brett Burns’ tip of Mirco Mueller’s shot from the point at 9:23 of the period.

The Sharks had other opportunities to score. Tomas Hertl had an open net but his backhand hit the crossbar. They also had numerous odd-man rushes but couldn’t capitalize on them.

Colorado, despite being dominated, nearly tied it on Matt Duchene’s shot with 1.5 seconds left in the period but Niemi made a diving glove save to keep San Jose in the lead.

NOTES: Johnson played despite suffering a hit to the head in Sunday’s loss at Winnipeg. He was cleared after the game and practiced Monday. … Avalanche LW Jamie McGinn and his brother, Sharks LW Tye McGinn, played against each other for the first time in their NHL careers. … San Jose’s previous high in shots was 37.

Colorado AvalancheHockeyPatrick MarleauSan Jose Sharks

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