SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -Although the San Jose Sharks desperately want their first Presidents' Trophy, they don't care much about the hardware itself. They're chasing home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs - and after a prolific weekend at the Shark Tank, it's easy to see why.
Milan Michalek had the go-ahead goal and an assist, Evgeni Nabokov made 31 saves, and the Sharks nudged back ahead of Detroit in the overall league standings with a 3-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night.
Jamie McGinn scored his first goal since Nov. 4 for the Sharks, who won three home games in four nights to give themselves 106 points, two off the team record and one more than the Red Wings with 10 games left for both teams.
The Sharks acknowledge they're thinking about the trophy that'll keep them in a building where they're 30-3-4 this season, even while their injury list grows to a length that rivals the healthy roster.
Semenov and Marc-Edouard Vlasic had two assists apiece, and Devin Setoguchi added an empty-net goal in San Jose's fifth win in six games. Semenov's multipoint game was just the second of his career, but he's among several Sharks who have filled injury voids.
The Sharks also lost forward Jonathan Cheechoo to a game misconduct penalty in the first period when he drove defenseman Lawrence Nycholat headfirst into the boards. Nycholat was down on the ice for several moments before skating to the dressing room under his own power.
Andrew Raycroft stopped 25 shots, and longtime Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan scored his first goal of the season for the last-place Avalanche, who lost their fourth straight and 11th in 14 games.
"For sure we want to finish first, because that gives you the best playoff position," said Michalek, who scored in the final minute of the second period on a give-and-go from 6-foot-6 defenseman Alexei Semenov. "It's down to the end now, so we've got to try to get every point to be sure we have a chance."
At Pittsburgh, Simon Gagne and Scott Hartnell scored power-play goals to send the Penguins to their first loss in a month.
Philadelphia won its second in a row to open a two-point lead over Pittsburgh in the race for the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference and home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Martin Biron made 27 saves, and Darroll Powe added an empty-net goal for the Flyers, who have three games in hand on the Penguins.
Kris Letang scored for Pittsburgh, which hadn't lost since Feb. 22 at Washington and fell in regulation for only the second time in 17 games under interim coach Dan Bylsma.
At Boston, Michael Ryder and Milan Lucic scored on deflections off New Jersey players for the East-leading Bruins.
The win clinched the Northeast Division title for Boston. Marc Savard and Chuck Kobasew also scored for the Bruins, 7-9-4 in their last 20 games after going 39-8-6.
Andy Greene scored for New Jersey, 9-3 in its last 12. NHL career victory leader Martin Brodeur dropped to 9-2 since returning from biceps surgery.
At Chicago, Patrick Sharp and Martin Havlat each scored two goals, Nikolai Khabibulin made 14 saves and the Blackhawks snapped a five-game winless streak.
Sharp returned after missing 16 games because of a left knee injury to help Chicago move into fourth place in the West, two points ahead of Vancouver.
Khabibulin lost a bid for his second shutout this season and 40th of his career when the Kings' Drew Doughty scored a power-play goal with 3:06 left.
At St. Paul, Minn., Nicklas Backstrom made 31 saves for his seventh shutout of the season, and Owen Nolan scored twice for the Wild, who are a point behind eighth-place Nashville in the race for the final playoff spot in the West. Edmonton is seventh, two points ahead of Nashville.
Wild star Marian Gaborik returned to play his seventh game of the season. He played the first two games in October, missed two months, played four games in December, and had been out again since just before Christmas after having hip surgery.
Stephane Veilleux also scored for Minnesota.
At New York, Ryan Shannon snapped a third-period tie, and Alex Auld made 28 saves in a rare start for Ottawa.
The Senators rebounded from an early 1-0 deficit, behind goals by Mike Comrie and Shannon, and started a six-game trip with their ninth win in 10 games and fourth straight.
Brandon Dubinsky scored for the Rangers.
At Anaheim, Calif., Ryan Getzlaf had two power-play goals in the third period, and Scott Niedermayer and Andrew Ebbett also scored with the man advantage for the Ducks.
The four power-play goals tied a franchise record for the Ducks, whose fourth win in five games put them a point behind Nashville for the eighth and final Western playoff spot and kept them tied with Minnesota. They're 7-for-12 on the power play over their last three games, after going 1-for-28 in their previous eight.
Corey Perry and George Parros also scored, Chris Pronger had three assists and Jonas Hiller made 26 saves. Petr Prucha and Shane Doan scored for Phoenix.
|PPG - Jamie McGinn (3) ASST: Alexei Semenov (6), Marc-Edouard Vlasic (27)|
1 - 0 SJS
|Scott Hannan (1) ASST: Wojtek Wolski (26), Milan Hejduk (29)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Milan Michalek (22) ASST: Alexei Semenov (7), Joe Pavelski (31)|
2 - 1 SJS
|EN - Devin Setoguchi (27) ASST: Milan Michalek (30), Marc-Edouard Vlasic (28)|
3 - 1 SJS
|Patrick Marleau Hi-sticking against Cody McLeod|
|Jonathan Cheechoo Boarding (maj) against Lawrence Nycholat|
|Jonathan Cheechoo Game misconduct against Lawrence Nycholat|
|Marek Svatos Hooking against Dan Boyle|
|John-Michael Liles Roughing against Brad Staubitz|
|Brad Staubitz Roughing against John-Michael Liles|
|Ruslan Salei Interference against Jamie McGinn|