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Avs Playoff Push Continues With 4-3 Win Over Sharks

by Staff Writer / Colorado Avalanche

DENVER (AP) - Milan Hejduk scored 19 seconds into overtime and the Colorado Avalanche overcame a two-goal deficit to beat the San Jose Sharks 4-3 on Sunday night.

Hejduk's 45th career game-winning goal and ninth OT marker beat Evgeni Nabokov and came on Joe Sakic's fourth assist of the game.

The Sharks cooled off Paul Stastny, whose rookie record scoring streak was halted at 20 games. But they couldn't slow down the Avs' charge to catch Calgary for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.

Colorado pulled to within four points of the Flames.

The Sharks looked well on their way to a franchise-record 45th win when they took a 3-1 lead on goals by Joe Thornton, Milan Michalek and Bill Guerin. Instead, they lost for the first time in eight games.

With the Sharks ahead 3-2 early in the third period, Nabokov made a nifty glove save to turn away the Avalanche's 5-on-3 power play that lasted 67 seconds and produced just two shots.

With 6:46 left, however, Andrew Brunette scored his career-best 25th goal and 71st point when Ken Klee hit a simple backhand shot from the deep slot and Brunette jammed it into the net, tying it at 3.

Sakic got a 2-minute penalty for hooking with 3:30 left but the Avs killed the power play by clearing out the puck four times.

The Avs had a man advantage in the overtime because Jonathan Cheechoo drew a 2-minute interference penalty with just 13 seconds left in regulation.

Michalek's shot 27 seconds into the second period went off the stick of Colorado goaltender Peter Budaj - who hasn't lost this month - and into the net, breaking a 1-1 tie. Four minutes later, Guerin scored his fifth goal in 10 games since the Sharks acquired him in a deadline deal from St. Louis.

The Avs pulled to 3-2 on John-Michael Liles' rebound goal later in the second period.

Avalanche center Tyler Arnason deflected a shot by Brett Clark past Nabokov on the power play to tie it at 1 midway through the first period. The Sharks had gone seven straight games without allowing a goal in the first two periods. During that stretch, San Jose had outscored its opponents 16-0.

Thornton had given the Sharks a 1-0 lead with a power play goal eight minutes into the game, the 1,000th coached by San Jose's Ron Wilson, who became the 13th coach in NHL history to reach that milestone and only the third active one.

Stastny scored 11 goals and 18 assists during his streak, the second-longest in franchise history behind Mats Sundin's 30-game stretch in 1992-93.

Notes: Wilson joined Ottawa's Bryan Murray and Florida's Jacques Martin as the only active coaches to have reached 1,000 games. ... Stastny hadn't been held scoreless since Feb. 1.

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