SAN JOSE, Calif. – Devin Setoguchi turned things around late in the season, much in the same way his team has.
Setoguchi recorded his first career hat trick and Ian White recorded a point in his first game with San Jose as the Sharks beat Colorado 4-0 on Saturday night. The Avalanche are winless in the last 10 games.
“It was frustrating for him early on because he wasn’t as involved in the game as he needed to be,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said of Setoguchi. “When he started making changes, on his own, good things happened.”
Ryane Clowe also scored for the Sharks, who have worked themselves back into the playoff picture by winning their eighth in 10 games and recording points in 13 of 15 to move into the fourth spot in the Western Conference.
“We’ve played a lot better lately and we’re still only two points away from ninth place,” Setoguchi said. “It just means we have to keep playing our best hockey night in and night out.”
Setoguchi had 13 multi-goal games entering the game and had thoughts of a hat trick in many of them. This time, he got it.
“It always sits in the back of your mind,” Setoguchi said. “It feels good to finally get one. The puck was following me around a little bit in the first period. It was more about being in the right place at the right time.”
White, the newly acquired defenceman from Carolina playing for his third team this season, assisted on Setoguchi’s second goal.
“There is a lot of speed and a lot of skill here,” said White, who recorded his 100th career assist. “It makes it easy on me. Everybody was in the right place.”
Antii Niemi made 25 saves to record his fifth shutout of the season and 12th of his career. It was also the first home shutout for the Sharks.
“It always looks good when the team is playing so well,” Niemi said. “For me, it’s more experience, more comfort and being more patient.”
Colorado goalie Peter Budaj was under siege all night, stopping 29 of 33 shots.
San Jose scored three times in the first period, two on power plays.
“We need to come together as a team and get out of this rut,” Budaj said. “A 3-0 lead is tough to come back from.”
The Avalanche is 0-9-1 in their past 10 games, their longest winless streak since relocating to Denver from Quebec for the 1994-95 season.
“It’s very tough,” Colorado coach Joe Sacco said. “We played well for 40 minutes, but you have to play 60 minutes. The first 20, you can’t give a good team like that so many power plays.”
Setoguchi scored his first goal 6:29 into the game after taking a pass from Jason Demers and splitting two defenders for an unhindered shot at the net.
Setoguchi scored a power-play goal about eight minutes later, redirecting a rebounded shot from White off the boards with Budaj caught looking the wrong way.
He completed the hat trick with less than two minutes remaining to play after winning a battle for the puck along the boards and sprinting, without any interference, straight to the net.
Notes: Sharks C Scott Nichol left with an injury in the first period. … D Doug Murray recorded his second assist in 24 games for the Sharks. … The Avalanche were 0-for-3 on power plays and are 1-for-25 in their past 10 games.