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Sharks Use Power Play To Beat Avs 4-3

by Staff Writer / Colorado Avalanche

DENVER (AP) - Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau scored power-play goals 17 seconds apart in the third period and Evgeni Nabokov stopped 40 shots during the San Jose Sharks' 4-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night.

The teams combined for five goals in an 8:18 span of the third period before the Avalanche dropped their fourth straight.

Joe Sakic scored his eighth goal of the season to put Colorado up 3-2 with 8:31 remaining, but the Avalanche were called for two penalties to give San Jose a 5-on-3 power play. Thornton netted his fifth of the season, and Marleau added his 12th on a shot from the circle.

Antti Laaksonen scored his first goal early in the third period to give Colorado a 2-1 lead, but Steve Bernier tied it with a backhander minutes later.

Nabokov returned to net after tweaking his neck against Phoenix last Saturday. However, he didn't miss his turn in the rotation. San Jose coach Ron Wilson has alternated between Nabokov and Vesa Toskala all season.

Jose Theodore finished with 22 saves.

An errant pass early in the second period led to a short-handed goal by Curtis Brown. Sakic attempted a pass along the blue line, but it was intercepted by Brown, who skated along the left boards and beat Theodore with a shot for his third goal of the season.

Later in the second period, San Jose's Jonathan Cheechoo was helped off the ice with a left leg injury after Colorado defenseman Karlis Skrastins fell on top of him in the goal crease. Cheechoo didn't return to the game.

Sakic's goal in the third period gave him 1,507 career points, the fifth-highest total for one franchise in NHL history. He was tied with Ray Bourque - a former teammate - who scored 1,506 points with Boston.

Brett McLean scored his fourth goal of the season 3:48 into the game from a difficult angle. McLean gathered the puck from behind the net, skated toward the right circle and directed a shot in the direction of the net without looking. The shot caught Nabokov off guard and squeezed between him and the right post.

The Sharks had three power-play opportunities in the first period but only three shots on goal.

Notes: Colorado's Paul Stastny and San Jose's Matt Carle were teammates at the University of Denver and guided the Pioneers to the 2005 NCAA championship. ... Former Avalanche players Scott Parker and Ville Nieminen were in the San Jose lineup. It was Parker's second game of the season. ... Sharks C Mark Smith was placed on the injured list Wednesday. D Rob Davison was activated from the list and took Smith's place on the roster. Davison got into two fights with Ian Laperriere in the second period.

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