A 5-1 setback to the playoff-bound San Jose Sharks didn't hurt
the Avs because the rival St. Louis Blues continued their freefall
with a fifth straight loss on Friday.
Regardless what the Blues do Sunday against Detroit, Colorado can
still win the Central Division with a win at Anaheim.
"The opportunity was in front of us, but we still control our own
destiny," Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson said. "As tough as it
was to give this one up on a back-to-back we still control our own
The Sharks, meanwhile, received a boost with the return of
20-year-old rookie center Tomas Hertl, who missed almost four months
following knee surgery. He was scoreless during 15 minutes of ice
time that included two shots on goal and 19 shifts.
"The knee is OK, I'm just a little bit tired," said Hertl. "I'm
happy we won. Any chances now, not scoring doesn't matter. Playoff
time is more important."
It was fellow Czech countryman Marty Havlat, a childhood hero of
Hertl's, who stole the limelight. Havlat, a right wing, collected
his sixth career hat trick and first since November of 2005 by
scoring three straight goals in the third period to break open a
"It's been awhile, and it felt pretty good," Havlat said. "But I
think what was most important was how we played."
Havlat deflected a center Logan Couture shot from the slot past
Colorado goalie J.S. Giguere at 5:26, added a breakaway goal at
13:40 and had an empty-netter at 15:10.
"I'm very happy Marty was scoring today," Hertl said. "It's very
good for us, very good before the playoffs. He's still a very good
player, a very smart player and a very good guy."
Colorado cut San Jose's early 2-0 lead in half with the only goal of
a second period that featured a number of borderline hits.
Avalanche left winger Patrick Bordeleau scored his sixth goal of the
season at 15:18 by depositing a perfect goal-mouth feed from center
Maxime Talbot into an empty net as Sharks goalie Alex Stalock had no
chance to move laterally in time.
Stalock did, however, deny a P.A. Parenteau breakaway attempt late
in the period when the Avs had a chance to tie.
"That was a key in the game," Colorado coach Patrick Roy said. "We
had our chance. ... At the end of the day we had our chance to get
back in that game."
Bordeleau had been a target ever since his hit to the chin of Scott
Hannan 15 minutes into the first period put the San Jose defenseman
out of the game.
Colorado lost a defenseman as well. Tyson Barrie was shaken up when
he was caught with his head down in the San Jose end by Sharks
defenseman Jason Demers 11 minutes into the first period. Barrie did
not play the rest of the game.
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The Sharks jumped all over Colorado's No. 3 goalie Reto Berra at the
outset. Defenseman Dan Boyle and left winger Patrick Marleau scored
goals, and Berra found himself on the bench by the midway point of
the first period in favor of Giguere, the backup.
"The only reason I pulled him was to change," Roy said. "I thought
it was the right decision. He's probably not playing with the
confidence he usually has. But we're a team and we stick together.
Giggy came in and played well for us."
Berra was making only his second start since being acquired from
Calgary by the Avs. He has surrendered seven goals on 32 shots in
two appearances with Colorado.
Boyle streaked in from the right point and sent a wrist shot from
the right circle past Berra, who was deep in his net, at 3:01. It
was Boyle's 12th goal of the season and the defenseman's fourth in
seven games after going 29 straight without one.
Havlat sprung Marleau with a nice feed just outside the Colorado
blue line and Marleau whizzed a slap shot past Berra at 10:11 for
his 33rd goal.
NOTES: With his team locked into second place in the Pacific
Division, San Jose coach Todd McLellan took the opportunity to rest
D Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who had appeared in all 80 games this season.
... Rookie LW Matt Nieto was assigned to Ontario of the ECHL. ... RW
Mike Brown was a healthy scratch. ... RW Raffi Torres will finish
the season missing the team's final 17 games because of soreness.
Torres returned to play in five of six games from Feb. 27 to March 8
after early season knee surgery. The Sharks expect Torres to be
available when they host the Los Angeles Kings in Round 1. ... The
Avalanche were without C John Mitchell, who was experiencing
headaches, along with injured forwards LW Alex Tanguay (hip) and C
Matt Duchene (knee). In addition, D Cory Sarich and LW Cody McLeod
did not dress for Colorado. ... The Sharks finish their regular
season on Saturday at Phoenix before opening the playoffs against
Los Angeles. ... Colorado caps the season Sunday at Anaheim.
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