Marleau played a large part in those wins, totaling five points in the two games.
"He gets a lot of points every year but it's the little things he does that don't show up on the scoresheet," said Vlasic, who got the first assist on all of Marleau's goals. "He gets rewarded tonight with three goals. It's nice to see."
Marleau scored the first two San Jose goals and added an empty-netter with 43 seconds left to notch the fourth hat trick of his career. He nearly got the third goal with six minutes left but couldn't get a clean shot on net.
"I got slashed right at the same time I was shooting," Marleau said.
"They played a very simple game tonight," Giguere said. "They didn't force anything. They waited on their chances on the power play. They let their goalie make the first save and they were there for the rebounds."
The Sharks controlled the play to start the second period and finally broke through when Marleau redirected a shot by Vlasic with 12:20 left to make it 2-1.
"We've been practicing it," Marleau said of the tip play. "He's doing good at knowing the right time to get it on net and when to shoot it off the side of the net."
Colorado pressed for the equalizer, outshooting the Sharks 9-1 over the next nine minutes, but San Jose struck again. Pavelski one-timed Thornton's pass from behind the net to give the Sharks a 3-1 lead with 3:13 left in the second. It was Pavelski's 11th goal of the season.
The Avalanche turned up their offense in the third, outshooting the Sharks 13-3 in the frame but failing to solve Greiss.
"Goalie played well," San Jose coach Todd McLellan said. "Not a lot of garbage laying around. That's why we feel good about Thomas because he can pitch those games."
The Avalanche had a 37-18 shot advantage in the game.
"We played a decent game, had all kinds of shots, we're just not scoring goals," Avalanche captain Milan Hejduk said. "We had 10 minutes in the second period when they outplayed us. We gave them too many power plays."
The Sharks had six power-play chances to Colorado's one.
"We take some unnecessary penalties. It takes away the momentum from you," Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said. "You're taking away your best players' opportunities on the ice. You can't give that type of team that many power plays."
The Sharks were on their sixth power play when the Avalanche pulled Giguere with a little more than a minute left for an extra attacker. Marleau scored into the empty net to finish the hat trick. He has nine goals this season.
Colorado took a 1-0 lead on Duchene's team-leading ninth goal of the season with 12:35 left in the first. Duchene took a pass from Ryan Wilson and roofed a shot from the slot.
"Willie came in from the point and I hit him, he made an unbelievable pass back to me," Duchene said. "I think he faked out everybody in the rink with that pass. It was a great play."
Marleau tied it with 7:44 left in the first period when he poked in a Vlasic rebound one second after the Avalanche killed off Kyle Quincey's tripping minor.
Vlasic recorded his second three-assist game in four days. He also had three against Detroit on Thursday. ... Avalanche D Shane O'Brien played in his 400th NHL game Sunday. ... Giguere entered Sunday second in goals-against average (1.68) and sixth in save percentage (.934). ... San Jose improved to 7-2 on the road.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: Pepsi Center Location: Denver, Colorado
Referees: Marc Joannette, Marcus Vinnerborg Linesmen: Brad Kovachik, Darren Gibbs
Attendance: 15,013 (83.4% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Matt Duchene (9)
Assists: Ryan Wilson, Gabriel Landeskog
Patrick Marleau (7)
Assists: Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Joe Thornton
Patrick Marleau (8)
Assists: Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Ryane Clowe
Joe Pavelski (11)
Assists: Joe Thornton, Logan Couture
Patrick Marleau (9)
(Power Play) Assists: Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Joe Thornton