Saturday, April 12, 2014
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Sharks End Avalanche's Streak

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[April 12, 2014]  SAN JOSE, Calif.  The Colorado Avalanche lost for the first time in 10 games on Friday, but still have fate in their own hands.

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 fate here."

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 close game.

"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.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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