DENVER (AP) - Marcel Goc broke a third-period tie with a rebound goal past rookie Peter Budaj, and the San Jose Sharks bolstered their playoff hopes with a 2-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night.
Goc's goal at 2:48 gave the Sharks their first lead, and it stood up. San Jose moved into a tie with eighth-place Vancouver in the Western Conference and within five points of Colorado, which was coming off an exhilarating win over Chicago 48 hours earlier.
The Avs scored twice in the final minute to beat the Blackhawks 4-3 on Monday night but this time there was no last-minute magic. Colorado failed to get off a shot after Budaj was pulled for an extra skater with a minute remaining.
San Jose's Vesa Toskala surrendered a goal to Andrew Brunette when the puck bounced off his mask at 12:24 of the first period but was otherwise flawless. He recorded 25 saves to improve to 18-7-4.
Joe Sakic stretched his point streak to 11 games with the assist on Brunette's goal. The Avs, who survived a 5-on-3 disadvantage early in the second period, clung to their 1-0 lead until Joe Thornton's rebound goal off Nils Ekman's shot with 2 1/2 minutes left in the second period.
Budaj fell to 6-4-2 in 12 starts for the Avs since the trade of David Aebischer to Montreal for Jose Theodore, who is still recovering from a broken right heel.
Theodore, injured seven weeks earlier, had his first full practice session with his new teammates on Tuesday but said he's not ready to suit up for a game and isn't sure when he will return.
The Avalanche contributed a total of $1 million to 10 community charity groups in a pregame ceremony ... The Avalanche suffered its first regulation defeat on home ice since Feb. 4 vs. Detroit...The Avs had been 6-0-1 in their last seven home games prior to tonight ... Joe Sakic extended his point streak to a season-high 11 games (8g, 13a), surpassing his previous best of 10 straight games with a point set Nov. 23-Dec. 12 ... It is the longest scoring streak by an Avalanche player since Alex Tanguay recorded a point in 16 consecutive games from Feb. 6-March 7, 2003 ... It's Joe's longest streak since his career high 14-gamer in 1999-2000 ... Andrew Brunette scored his 23rd goal of the season tonight, matching his single-season career high set with Atlanta in 1999-2000 ... Brunette extended his point streak to six games (5g, 5a) ... Milan Hejduk extended his point streak to five games tonight (1g 7a) ... Peter Budaj started his 12th consecutive game tonight, becoming the first Avalanche goalie to start 12 consecutive games since Patrick Roy also did it from Feb. 25-March 20, 2000 ... The game marked the return of former University of Denver defenseman Matt Carle, a Hobey Baker Award finalist who signed with the Sharks for $2.8 million over three years on March 19 - the day his college team was denied an NCAA tournament bid and a chance to win a third straight national title.
Joe Sakic: "Everybody worked hard, but we just didn't get it done. We have a couple days of rest before St. Louis. San Jose played a lot tighter than the last time we played them. It was a high scoring game. In that second period we had a lot of penalties. That gives the other team a lot of momentum, and we ended up sitting back a little bit. I thought we worked hard, but we couldn't find a way to put the puck in the net. This late in the season with the standings, if you win, you feel real good, and when you lose, it's tough. You just have to focus on the next game."
Peter Budaj: "We had way too many penalties, especially in the second period. We were killing almost half of a period. We didn't score goals, and that is what matters. I tried to help my team win the hockey game, and unfortunately today it didn't work out. I thought we worked hard, but we didn't get breaks in the third period. So, it's tough to lose, especially before the end of the regular season, with the playoff race being so tight. But, we have another two home games coming up, so we have to come back strong and win both games."
Ian Laperriere: On the penalty kill... "We did what we had to do, which was kill them, but on the other end, it drains everybody. We just have to be smart. In the playoffs you can't take that many penalties and expect to win. I'm happy with the way we killed tonight."
Coach Ron Wilson: "They practice and play here all the time, and they don't take long shifts. They play 30 seconds and get off. We had a lot of guys in the first period averaging 50-60 seconds. The second period was much better because we were pressuring the puck. Early we got some power plays and that kind of changed the momentum. Even though we didn't score, we had chances and we used that to wear down their top people."