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Avalanche 5, Sharks 2 @NHL

DENVER (AP) - His teammates surrounding him and a rare milestone behind, Pierre Turgeon had just one thought: "Finally!"

Turgeon became the 34th player in league history to reach 500 goals and Alex Tanguay scored twice, lifting the Colorado Avalanche to a 5-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night.

Turgeon, in his 18th season, had been waiting for the milestone goal since scoring twice against Vancouver on Oct. 27. He finally got it on a pass from Marek Svatos, one-timing it past Sharks goalie Vesa Toskala.

Turgeon, 27th in NHL history with 1,288 points, received a lengthy standing ovation as the "500" flashed on the scoreboard and responded with a quick raise of the stick.

"The last couple games I've been thinking about it and it's nice to get it out of the way," said Turgeon, who has five goals and nine assists in 14 games this season, his first with Colorado. "It's a nice milestone to reach."

He couldn't have picked a better time to do it.

Colorado took an early 2-0 lead, then let San Jose back it in by playing defensively, a problem that has plagued the Avs at times this season. The Sharks cut the lead to 3-2 on Jonathan Cheechoo's goal early in the third period and were getting some good chances until a hooking call on Alyn McCauley set up a two-man advantage.

Turgeon took advantage with his fifth goal of the season with 11 minutes left, then Tanguay put the game out of reach three minutes later, scoring his fifth goal on a breakaway. Marek Svatos and John-Michael Liles also scored for Colorado, which finished its six-game homestand 5-0-1 - best since the franchise moved to Denver in 1995.

"I thought it was a special goal knowing how important it was at that stage of the game," Avs coach Joel Quenneville said. "The game was going to go down to the wire and they were playing really well there. It is a great reflection on a tremendous career. He gets into situations like that because of how he plays, and we have been happy with everything he has done."

Tom Preissing also scored for San Jose, which couldn't overcome an early two-goal deficit and another shaky game by Toskala to lose its second straight after a five-game winning streak. The Sharks had a 33-23 advantage in shots, but went 0-for-6 on the power play and had too many defensive breakdowns.

"They capitalized on our mistakes," Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan said. "That's what led to their first two goals. Then came the third period and we take a couple of penalties and they took advantage again."

As for Toskala, he gave up five goals on 23 shots, which could leave him as odd man out now that Evgeni Nabokov is back.

Liles and Tanguay each scored against Toskala in the game's first three minutes and Svatos got his first in 10 games midway through the second after San Jose seemed to have taken over.

Toskala is 0-4 and has allowed 17 goals in five games, numbers that aren't likely to be good enough to keep him out of the minors with Nabokov back from injured reserve and rookie Nolan Schaefer off to such a great start (5-1, 1.94 goals-against average).

"It wasn't easy. I wasn't into the game, I got back into the game and they scored again," Toskala said.

Avalanche goalie David Aebischer was steady after getting a game off on Saturday. He stopped 31 shots, including 18 in the first period, and the two goals off him - both in the second period - came on tough bounces.

The first came after a shot by Brad Stuart went through Aebischer's pads and hit the post, leaving Preissing with an open net to cut Colorado's lead to 2-1. The second came after Stuart's tip shot skipped sideways to the left circle, where Cheechoo had a relatively easy shot for his seventh goal, making it 3-2.

Aebischer stayed solid after that, facing only four shots in the final period to match a career high with his sixth straight win.

"Sometimes it doesn't really matter how you win, just as long as you win," said Aebischer, who had his third career assist on Tanguay's second goal. "I've been playing, I would say, pretty good of late and I can be happy that we score a lot of goals. That helps."

Notes: Colorado plays nine of its next 12 games on the road. ... Colorado's Joe Sakic had an assist on Tanguay's first goal, moving him past Doug Gilmour for 14th on the NHL's career points list with 1,415. ... San Jose placed forward Scott Thornton (groin) on injured reserve before the game. ... Aebischer also won six straight games from Nov. 2-20, 2003.

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