and the San Jose Sharks
kept firing away at Colorado goaltender Craig Anderson. Both were finally rewarded.
Clowe broke a scoreless tie in the final seconds of the second period with his first goal in 22 regular-season games and the Sharks went on to beat the Avalanche 3-1 on Friday night.
"We're looking forward to a lot more of those," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said of Clowe's slump-ending goal.
Anderson put on a goaltending clinic, stopping the first 31 shots he faced. The 31st was a spectacular stop on a wide-open rebound by Patrick Marleau from the lower right circle -- but the puck squirted through defenseman Adam Foote's legs and across the crease, where Clowe barely got enough of the puck with his backhand to nudge it into the open left side of the net with 5.9 seconds left in the period.
"We had four rebounds and I got the fifth one," said Clowe, who had 22 goals last season but hadn't scored since March 5.
"That's probably how you have to beat Anderson right now," McLellan added. "You're not going to beat him on the first or second (shots), you have to get him out of position and find the open net. We finally did that."
The loss was only the second in regulation for the Avalanche (10-2-2), who have been one of the NHL's biggest early-season surprises. San Jose outshot Colorado 46-25 and improved to 9-4-1 with its fourth consecutive victory -- one that extracted a measure of revenge for a 5-2 opening-night loss to the Avs at the PepsiCenter in Denver.
"We were fortunate to be in the game," Avs coach Joe Sacco said after his team's streaks of four consecutive wins and 10 games in a row with a point both ended. "Give San Jose credit. They played us like we were the first-place team in the Western Conference."
Sacco also praised Anderson, who has played every minute of Colorado's first 14 games after signing with the Avs as a free agent, for keeping his team in the game on a night when the Sharks controlled play almost from the opening faceoff..
"He gave us a chance to win the game when we probably shouldn't have been in it," Sacco said. "When you play in your own end, you're not going to get anything going offensively. It starts with turnovers in the neutral zone. Because we don't get it deep, we can't sustain any pressure in the offensive zone or get in on the forecheck, and we play on our heels.
"That's what happened tonight, and you can't let San Jose, with some of the firepower they've got, spend a lot of time in your end."
The Sharks didn't let up after finally solving Anderson.
Dany Heatley made it 2-0 at 3:59 of the third period with his ninth of the season, an easy redirection of Jason Demers' shot/pass from the right boards. As with the first goal, Anderson had no chance.
Heatley's goal came about 30 seconds after Evgeni Nabokov made an excellent stop on Wojtek Wolski from the slot for perhaps the toughest of his 24 saves.
Matt Duchene's shorthanded goal at 9:34 gave the Avs some life, but Marleau's breakout pass sent Jamie McGinn alone down left wing, and he snapped a pinpoint shot over Anderson's glove and into the top corner at 10:04, one second after Kyle Cumiskey's penalty expired.
"You have to be that good to beat that goaltender right now," McLellan said. "I thought that was a very important goal for us after we gave up the shortie. They had a little momentum -- you could feel it on the bench. For us to go out and score at the end of the power play was real important."
Anderson was the only reason the game was scoreless through 39-plus minutes -- the Sharks outshot Colorado 32-13 through two periods, iincluding 20-8 in the second. He robbed Joe Thornton from the left circle with 90 seconds left in the first period, then kept the game scoreless midway through the second by foiling Benn Ferriero on a wide-open rebound from the lower left circle.
"He made some great saves in the first couple of periods, but we didn't get frustrated," Clowe said. "We stuck to the game plan. We put a lot of shots at his feet and made him give rebounds. When we put that many shots on net, we'll win a lot of games."
-- John Kreiser, NHL.com
Material from team online and broadcast media was used in this report