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Grier Gets Game Winner In Sharks 3-2 Victory

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks
Evgeni Nabokov puts aside a shot from former Shark Scott Hannan in San Jose's 3-2 victory on Monday night

DENVER - Following their 3-2 victory over the Avalanche on Friday, the Sharks traveled to Colorado to take on the Avs for the second time in four days. And for the second time in a row, Mike Grier scored the game-winning goal in a 3-2 victory.

Click here (PICS ) for pictures from the game.

Evgeni Nabokov made his 25th-consecutive start in goal and made 35 saves for San Jose, while Colorado's Theodore Jose got the call from Avs coach Joel Quenneville for his second-straight start. Quenneville made 28 saves on the night.

Noticeably absent from the Avalanche lineup was captain Joe Sakic, who was suffering from a sore groin. Sakic, who had a regular-season streak of 232 conseutive games played, also missed Colorado's last game, a 5-2 win against Los Angeles.

San Jose’s top line got the Sharks on the board first, just 3:14 into the first period. With the puck deep in Colorado’s zone, Joe Thornton made a pass to Jonathan Cheechoo behind the net. Cheechoo wasted no time and fed the puck to Milan Michalek for a wrist shot from between the circles. The goal was Michalek's eighth of the season.

That lead would last twelve seconds.

Following the faceoff, Colorado won the draw and sent the puck to Milan Heduk along the right side. The Czech Republic Olympian skated in, made a quick deke and rifled a shot upstairs to beat Nabokov and tie the game at one.

The Sharks and Avalanche exchanged power plays, but neither team could score with the man advantage. The first period at the Pepsi Center would end in a 1-1 tie.

When the second period started, San Jose earned the man advantage when Colorado was called for too many men at 1:19. Cheechoo had four scoring opportunities on his first shift of the power play, but eventually negated the power play when he was called for tripping at 2:36.

The Sharks celebrate after Steve Bernier scored to give San Jose a 2-1 lead in the second period

By the middle of the second period, Ron Wilson's decision to double shift Thornton helped give the Sharks the lead. While playing on a line with Steve Bernier and Jeremy Roenick, Thornton won the puck along the left boards and fed it to Bernier in the middle. The 22-year-old right wing faked a pass to get his defender out of position and then fired a shot that trickled through  Jose's legs.

Bernier's fifth goal of the season came at 9:20 of the second period and gave the Sharks the 2-1 lead.

San Jose added some padding to their lead in the third period when Mike Grier added the Sharks third goal of the game at 8:30. While coming up the right side, Grier crossed the blue line and sent a bouncing shot towards the goal. What looked like an innocent shot, ended up bouncing over Jose's arm and into the net.

Colorado came back eight minutes later when Andrew Brunette netted a left-handed shot off the faceoff at 16:55. That would cap the scoring and although the Avs pulled their goalie with 1:02 remaining, San Jose hung on for the 3-2 win.

LINES
Michalek – Thornton – Cheechoo
Marleau – Pavelski – Setoguchi
Rissmiller – Mitchell – Grier
Ozolinsh – Roenick – Bernier

Ehrhoff – Rivet
Semenov – Vlasic
Murray – Carle

Nabokov - Patzold

NEXT GAME
The next leg of the Sharks four-game road trip takes them to Dallas where they will face the Stars on Wednesday, December 5 at 6:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX FM, Sharks Radio Affiliates and SJSHARKS.com.

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