The so-called “stars” seemed to be pointed in the right direction for the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night. They were starting a three-game homestand, a string of nine of their next 10 on home ice and were coming off a 3-1 road trip.
But the visiting Colorado Avalanche put the stars out of line. Two-goal games for Brett Clark and Joe Sakic helped the Avalanche (13-13-2) to a 5-2 win over the Sharks (20-9-0) before 17,039 at HP Pavilion.
to view video highlights from Thursday's game.
The loss also snapped a five-game home ice winning streak for San Jose. Their last home loss came on Nov. 2 to the Rangers.
The first entry on the score sheet came at 5:00 of the first period when Sakic was called for hooking. San Jose’s power play was short as Jonathan Cheechoo was called for interference 35 seconds later. The next penalty came at 8:49 when Avs defenseman Jordan Leopold was called for delay of game.
Colorado was first on the goal side of the scoreboard at 11:10. Wojtek Wolski gave a clearing pass to Sakic, who took the puck down the left wing. As he got near the top of the left faceoff circle, Sakic passed the puck to Clark in the slot. Clark one-timed a slap shot past Toskala for his second goal of the season and a 1-0 Avs lead.
San Jose got another power play chance when Pierre Turgeon was called for tripping at 12:21. The Sharks capitalized on this opportunity. Joe Thornton
got the puck from Milan Michalek, circled behind the net and went towards the right corner. He kicked a pass to Cheechoo in the slot. Cheechoo put a high snap shot at the top of the open net for his eighth goal to tie the game at 1-1.
The Sharks got another power play opportunity at 14:51 when Patrick Brisebois hooked Mike Grier. The penalty was the third one Grier drew on the Avs in the first 15 minutes of the game. That power play chance ended at 16:38 when Steve Bernier was called for boarding Leopold behind the Avs net.
There was one more penalty to be called before the end of the first 20 minutes. Curtis Brown was called for hooking Paul Stastny in the Avs zone at 19:36.
Colorado and San Jose ended the first period tied at 1-1. San Jose was outshooting Colorado, 10-7.
The Avs started the second period on the power play, but that came to an end at 1:12 as Marek Svatos was called for interference.
Colorado scored their second goal at 4:07. On the faceoff in the left circle in the San Jose zone, John-Michael Liles got the puck on the left point and threw it on Toskala, who couldn’t control the rebound. Sakic got the loose puck in the crease and knocked it in for his team-leading 10th goal of the season to give the Avs a 2-1 lead.
Two seconds later, the Avs went on the power play as Brown was called for hooking.
At 7:51, the Sharks tied the game at 2-2. Rob Davison dumped the puck from the Sharks blue line towards the right corner of the Colorado zone. The puck went off Thornton at the Avs blue line and Theodore, who misplayed the puck. Thornton then picked up the loose puck in the right faceoff circle and put a snap shot past Theodore for his eighth goal of the season. Marc-Edouard Vlasic
also had an assist on the game-tying goal.
But San Jose went back on the penalty kill at 8:11 when former Denver University product Matt Carle was called for hooking.
Colorado got the lead back at 14:02. Patrick Marleau
lost the puck to Clark at the left point in the Avs end. Tyler Arnason got the loose puck and fed it to Brett McLean at the center line. McLean went in on a 3-on-2, held the puck as he skated towards the slot and fired a wrist shot past Toskala for his fifth goal of the season.
With the Avs leading 3-2, Grier went into the Avs end on a breakaway. Ken Klee dove in front of him near the Colorado net to force a penalty shot. At 14:58, Grier drove in on goal for his first career penalty shot, but the shot just glanced off the bottom of Theodore’s blocker on his left hand.
With 54 seconds remaining in the period, Colorado went up 4-2. From the high center, Wolski passed to Clark at the left point and with Andrew Brunette in front of the net, Clark’s shot went past Toskala for his third goal of the season. Clark also posted his first career two-goal game.
Colorado outshot San Jose, 9-7, in the period, but the Sharks held a 17-16 edge in overall shots.
San Jose got an early opportunity in the third period as Brunette was called for hooking at 27 seconds. While the Sharks kept the puck in the Avs zone, they got a brief two-man advantage when Clark was sent to the box for high sticking at 1:35.
The Sharks gave Colorado a power play opportunity at 7:30 and they capitalized four seconds later. After Christian Ehrhoff was called for holding, Sakic won the faceoff and got the puck to Brisebois near the left point. Brisebois fired a shot on goal, Sakic grabbed the rebound and put a backhand shot past Toskala for his 11th goal of the season and second of the game. Sakic’s tally gave the Avs a 5-2 lead and the win.
San Jose wound up outshooting the Avs in the third period, 13-9, and 30-25 for the game.
Toskala - Nabokov
Forwards Scott Parker and Ryane Clowe
were healthy scratches for San Jose. Defenseman Kyle McLaren wasn’t in the lineup as well. He was sidelined with a lower body injury and his status is day-to-day…Before the game, goaltenders Vesa Toskala and Evgeni Nabokov received the Seagate Technology “Sharks Player of the Month” Award for November…Colorado welcomed back 19-year veteran center Pierre Turgeon back to the active roster. The 37-year-old had missed the first 27 games with a shoulder injury. Turgeon is one of only 10 active players who’ve been in the NHL since 1987-88.
San Jose continues their three-game homestand with a contest against Nashville on Saturday night. Game time is at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the HP Pavilion box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, ticketmaster.com and by calling 408-998-TIXS. The game can be seen on FSN Bay Area and can be heard on 98.5 K-FOX, the Sharks Radio Network and sjsharks.com.