San Jose Sharks beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 on Tuesday night. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Couture’s hat trick leads Sharks past Avalance 4-2 in Game 3

DENVER — Logan Couture scored three times, including the go-ahead goal with 7:10 remaining, and the San Jose Sharks beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 on Tuesday night to take a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference semifinal series.

Couture sent a shot over the shoulder of Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer just 65 seconds after Matt Nieto tied the score. Couture sealed it on an empty-net goal with 29.5 seconds remaining. Timo Meier also scored for the Sharks, who improved to 24-16 all-time in Game 3 of a series.

Game 4 is Thursday in Denver.

It’s been an exciting few days for Sharks centre Gustav Nyquist, whose wife gave birth to a daughter Monday. He returned to the team before the game and recorded two assists.

Martin Jones stopped 25 shots.

Nathan MacKinnon had a short-handed goal and Nieto added another to help the Avalanche rebound from a 2-0 first-period deficit. Philipp Grubauer made 27 saves for Colorado, which snapped an eight-game home win streak.

BLUE JACKETS 2, BRUINS 1

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 36 shos to help Columbus beat Boston to take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Boone Jenner and Matt Duchene scored for the Blue Jackets, who won a second-round home game for first time in franchise history.

Game 4 is Thursday night.

Tuukka Rask had 32 saves for Boston. The Bruins’ only goal was a flukey one by Jake DeBrusk in the last minute of the second period, the only chink in an otherwise brilliant game by Bobrovsky, who is having the best post-season of his career thus far.

By The Associated Press

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