PA Parenteau made his return to the ice Friday night in San Jose after missing 15 games with a knee injury. He hurt his knee on his first shift against Winnipeg on March 10.
The forward played 18:26 and had three shots and three hits in the Avalanche's 5-1 loss to the Sharks.
With the Avs down 2-1 in the second period, Parenteau nearly tied the game on a breakaway chance. Coming out of the penalty box after serving a high sticking penalty, he took a leading pass at the San Jose blue line and went one-on-one with Sharks goalie Alex Stalock. Parenteau fired a wrist shot from about five feet out, but Stalock made the save with a nice pad stop.
Parenteau was on the ice for the opening faceoff, starting at right wing on a line with center Ryan O'Reilly and left wing Jamie McGinn. He quickly tested his injured knee as he was involved in a collision in his own zone in the first minute of play, and the knee seemed to hold up as he jumped up off the ice and back into the play after the hit.
Parenteau had missed 10 games earlier this year after injuring his other knee Dec. 29 versus the Jets. He was beginning to find his offensive stride before the second knee injury occurred as he entered the Friday's game with four goals and two assists in his last eight contests.
While Parenteau spent most of the game with O'Reilly and McGinn, Avs head coach Patrick Roy hinted afterward that he might play on a line with Paul Stastny and Gabriel Landeskog in the future.
Tyson Barrie suffered an upper body injury in the first period against the Sharks after a collision with Jason Demers in the San Jose zone.
Roy said he didn't know much about Barrie's injury during his postgame meeting with the media, as he hadn't talked with head athletic trainer Matt Sokolowski yet about it.
"We'll see how it goes the next couple of days," Roy said.
Barrie did a drop pass to a teammate with less than 10 minutes remaining in the opening stanza before being hit high on his body by Demers. Barrie fell to the ice in pain, but he was able to make it back to the Avs' bench on his own power.
The defenseman returned to the ice two minutes later and went out for three more shifts before the first intermission, but he did not return to the Colorado bench for the start of the second period.
Defenseman Ryan Wilson, who began the game on the Avs' fourth line as a forward, took Barrie's spot in the back end for the rest of the contest.
Barrie leads all Avs defensemen in scoring this season with 38 points (13 goals, 25 assists) in 64 games.
GIGUERE REPLACES BERRA
After making 22 saves in a starting role on Tuesday in Edmonton, backup goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere was back in the cage on Friday night. However, this time it was in relief of the starter.
Giguere came into game in San Jose at 10:11 of the first period to replace Reto Berra, who made his second start with the Avalanche after being acquired at the March 5 trade deadline. Berra made three saves on five shots and was the goalie of record.
"The only reason why I pulled [Berra] was to change the momentum of the game. I thought that was the right decision at the time," Roy said. "A team is a team and we play together here and stick together. I was very happy to give him the chance to play. Jiggy came in, and Jiggy played well for us."
Giguere stopped 22 of the 24 shots he faced.
DOWN TO THE LAST DAY
It's going to come down to the final day of the regular season.
St. Louis joined Colorado with a loss on Friday night, which means the winner of the Central Division will be decided on Sunday in the final games of the season for both clubs. The Blues host the Detroit Red Wings at 10:30 a.m. MT while the Avalanche plays at the Anaheim Ducks at 6 p.m. MT.
St. Louis was defeated 3-0 on Friday to the Stars, who clinched the final Western Conference playoff spot with the victory.
The Avalanche and the Blues are tied for first in the division with 111 points each, but Colorado holds the tiebreaker with more regulation and overtime wins (47-43)
If the Blues lose to the Red Wings, the Avs win the division. If Blues defeat the Red Wings, the Avs would need to beat the Ducks later in the day to win the division. If the Avs and the Blues both win or lose on Sunday then Colorado takes the division with the tiebreaker.
The Avalanche can also still win the Western Conference regular-season title, but it will need the Ducks to lose to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday and then win on Sunday in Anaheim.
Roy said Semyon Varlamov would be the starting goaltender for the Avs in the season finale.