Nathan MacKinnon suffers injury late in Avalanche’s 4-0 victory at San Jose

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In response to its second four-goal loss within a week late Wednesday, the Avalanche used a near-flawless effort to defeat the San Jose Sharks 4-0 at SAP Arena and finish 3-1 on its four-game road trip.

Top-line wingers Mikko Rantanen (two goals, two assists) and Gabe Landeskog (goal, two assists) led the way offensively, and goalie Philipp Grubauer (26 saves) was excellent with his third shutout of the season after allowing five goals in Monday’s 6-2 loss to the Sharks, who scored six unanswered goals.

Star center Nathan MacKinnon, however, left the game with an apparent head injury after absorbing a check-to-the-head from Sharks fourth-line winger Joachim Blichfeld at 8:08 of the final frame. MacKinnon, who assisted on Rantanen’s goal, did not return.

“I saw him coming off the ice. He was in the hallway. He seems to be doing good,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said of MacKinnon. “I think that we get lucky on it. Hopefully, he’s feeling good and everything tomorrow but as of right now he seems to be fine.”

Landeskog scored a power-play goal during Blichfeld’s five-minute major, giving Colorado a 3-0 lead at 8:23, and Rantanen produced his fourth point of the game with his team-leading 10th goal at 14:34.

“We were happy to cash in on the power play and kind of put the game away,” Landeskog said of his third power-play goal in as many games. “I thought we played a good game and deserved to win tonight. Obviously, we weren’t happy with the way we played in Game 1 in San Jose. We wanted to come back and really make sure we responded. Tonight I thought we definitely showed some of our best.”

Rantanen scored his ninth goal at 14:24 of the second period. From the right circle, he took a diagonal pass from MacKinnon, who was in the left corner, and one-timed the puck past goalie Martin Jones.

It was the 321st career assist for MacKinnon, who tied Alex Tanguay for fourth in Avalanche history.

The goal came shortly after Colorado’s NHL-leading penalty kill successfully killed off the club’s first penalty, a hooking minor to defenseman Jacob MacDonald.

The Avs outscored San Jose 3-0 in the third period, after the Sharks scored all four goals in the final frame Monday.

“Great response,” Rantanen said. “We had a meeting and everybody understand what the situation was and everybody played well. We responded well.”

Individually, Rantanen produced his first four-point game of the season, and second multi-point game of the four-game road trip.

“Overall, felt good and linemates and team was helping me out, of course,” he said.

The Avs (12-7-1) and Sharks (8-10-2) next meet in a four-game stretch from April 30 to March 5, with the first two games in Denver.

Footnotes. The Avs again played without top young defensemen Cale Makar and Bo Byram and veteran forward Matt Calvert, who are each out with upper-body injuries. Makar and Calvert missed their third consecutive games, and Byram his second. They are all listed as day-to-day. … The Avs are scheduled to take Thursday off ahead of a consecutive-night stretch against the visiting Anaheim Ducks on Friday and Saturday at Ball Arena.

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