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Signs of life
Sharks score 3 goals in the 3rd in comeback
12/15/11 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks looked poised to drop another game on Thursday night, but a funny thing happened. They decided to play inspired hockey. Staring at a 4-2 loss to the visiting Colorado Avalanche in the 3rd period, the Sharks went berserk, ripping off three unanswered goals in a span of 4:29 to win for only the 3rd time in their last 10 games.

San Jose overcame a 3rd period deficit against Colorado on Tuesday night in Denver, but the Avalanche ended up winning that game in the shootout. In that game, the Sharks tied the game in the last minute before eventually falling. They would skip the extra session on Thursday by scoring with reckless abandon.

"In between periods we talked about how teams have done this to us," said Sharks captain joe Thornton. "Why don't we just turn it around for once? Shift after shift we came at them and it just worked for us."

Colorado was content to just burn clock as they entered the 3rd period with a 2-goal lead. Brent Burns challenged those plans by scoring his 5th goal of the season 7 minutes into the period. Burns took the initiative and drove on the net and punched home his own rebound after Martin Havlat stripped Jan Hejda in the right corner and fed the big defenseman.

Joe Pavelski followed up Burns goal with his 13th of the season 89 seconds later. Pavelski was the benefactor of a rebound right on the Avalanche doorstep after Jason Demers bounced a shot off Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov. Joe Thornton setup Demers with a pass from behind the net.

"That is how a lot of goals are being scored," said Pavelski. "The D did a great job getting shots through tonight. We had quite a few opportunities. Jumbo had a few. We just missed on a few, but it is definitely good to see guys battle back and get into the hard areas to score goals."

Logan Couture put the Sharks up for good by deflecting a Patrick Marleau short from the blueline. Couture parked himself in front of Varlamov before lifting Marleau's shot.

Things looked peachy for San Jose early in the contest. Ryane Clowe punched home his 7th goal of the season on a put back after Couture fired a shot off the Russian netminder.

Things turned sour for San Jose after that.

Marleau was whistled for holding at 5:18, before Paul Stastny deflected an Erik Johnson shot on the ensuing power play. Stastny parked himself just outside the left post and got his stick on the knee-high shot.

Burns took a high sticking penalty with 70 seconds left in the opening period to setup another Avalanche power play goal. Ryan O'Reilly poked home a deflection off a Sefan Elliott shot from the blueline. Niemi setup the juicy rebound by stopping Sefan's blast with his left pad. The puck trickled out to O'Reilly on the right side for the easy put-back.

Michal Handzus tied the game 1:12 into the 2nd period by putting a one-time chance past Varlamov from the slot after Havlat centered a pass from behind the Colorado net.

"He was very good tonight," McLellan said about Havlat after the game. " You can't take that away from him one bit. He was good defensively. He was good on the penalty kill. He created chances for his line mates. We are really happy with that type of game from him. I think for him he is still feeling his way through a new organization again. I have said it before, we do expect more from him, but maybe this was his coming out and he'll continue to go that way."

Colorado answered less than two minutes later when Stastny converted for the second time. The young star grabbed a winding puck off the end boards before stepping to the slot and backhanding a shot past Niemi.

The Avalanche extended theor lead to 4-2 with less than 2 minutes to play in the period when Daniel Winnik put a puck past Niemi. Winnek had dropped the gloves with Clowe earlier in the period, before extending the Avalanche lead.

"I don't know what to say," lamented Hejda. " It was disappointing. We need to win games like this against teams in our conference. There were just some big mistakes."


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1 2 3 T
COL 2 2 0 4
SJ 1 1 3 5
1st period - 1, SJ, Clowe 7 (Couture), 2:30. 2, COL, Stastny 9 (Johnson), 5:51, (pp). 3, COL, O'Reilly 7 (Elliott, Hejduk), 19:49, (pp).
2nd period - 4, SJ, Handzus 3 (Havlat, McGinn), 1:12. 5, COL, Stastny 10 (Winnik, Duchene), 3:01. 6, COL, Winnik 5 (Stastny, Van Der Gulik), 18:21.
3rd period - 7, SJ, Burns 5 (Havlat), 7:00. 8, SJ, Pavelski 13 (Demers, Thornton), 8:29. 9, SJ, Couture 12 (Marleau, Vlasic), 11:29.
1st period - McLeod, COL (fighting major), 2:09; Winchester, SJ (fighting major), 2:09; Marleau, SJ (holding), 5:18; Quncey, COL (closing hand on puck), 9:32; Burns, SJ (high sticking), 18:50.
2nd period - Van Der Gulik, COL (tripping), 4:20; Winnik, COL (fighting major), 7:25; Clowe, SJ (fighting major), 7:25.
3rd period - Braun, SJ (boarding), 8:54; Bench, COL (too many men), 14:54.
Shots Saves
COL - Varlamov 34 29
SJ - Niemi 27 23
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
COL 11 9 7 27
SJ 11 12 11 34
Power Play Conversion
COL 2 of 3
SJ 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Logan Couture
Paul Stastny
Ryane Clowe
Referees: Kozari, Peel. Linesmen: Amell, Cherrey.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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