DENVER, CO - JANUARY 04: The Colorado Avalanche celebrate a goal by Nathan MacKinnon #29 of the Colorado Avalanche against goalie Alex Stalock #32 of the San Jose Sharks to give the Avalanche a 4-0 lead in the second period at Pepsi Center on January 4, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
DENVER (AP) - Nathan MacKinnon had two goals and Semyon Varlamov stopped 30 shots, including several big saves down the stretch, to help the Colorado Avalanche hold off the San Jose Sharks 4-3 on Saturday for their third straight win.
It was MacKinnon's first two-goal game. Jamie McGinn and Erik Johnson also scored for the Avalanche, who have 56 points at the halfway point of the season, second-most in team history behind the 2000-01 team.
Johnson's shot from the blue line at 5:45 of the second bounced past Antti Niemi and ended the goaltender's day. Niemi was pulled after allowing three goals and Alex Stalock took over, promptly allowing MacKinnon's second goal 14 seconds later to make it a 4-0 game.
Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture had goals for the Sharks.
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