Sharks rally for shootout win over Avalanche, 5-4

San Jose Sharks

SAN JOSE – San Jose forced overtime with a goal in the closing seconds, then produced a 2-0 win in the shootout to finish the pre-Christmas portion of the schedule, outlasting the visiting Colorado Avalanche 5-4.
Joe Thornton’s third assist of the game set up Joe Pavelski for a short range goal with 19.6 seconds left to create a 4-4 tie. Colorado had shocked the hosts with two goals in a span of 12 seconds in the third period’s final two minutes to wipe out a 3-2 San Jose lead.
Coach Patrick Roy pulled the Avalanche goaltender with 2:06 left in the third near the end of a Colorado power play. The extra skater led to Erik Johnson’s long shot from the right point with 1:51 to play in regulation for the equalizer.
Colorado went up 4-3 with 1:39 left when John Mitchell fired a shot from a tough angle at the left boards.
San Jose pulled its goaltender for the final 80 seconds. The Sharks were rebuffed for one minute before Brent Burns controlled the puck in the endboards and passed to Thornton for the assist pass to Pavelski. The tying goal came as Pavelski skated across the slot, accepted Thornton’s offering and pulled the puck inside the left post.
“He’s such a smart player,” said Thornton of his linemate.
“Pav’s been a real clutch player over the last two weeks for us,” said San Jose coach Todd McLellan.
Logan Couture scored in the second round of the shootout. Patrick Marleau ended the suspense when his third round goal gave the Sharks the insurmountable 2-0 win.
The Sharks posted the only two goals of the second period to take a 3-2 lead. San Jose dominated the 20 minutes with a 21-5 edge in shots on net.
“It was probably our best period all year,” said Thornton.
Brent Burns recorded his 10th goal of the season at 5:53 with an even-strength tally. Thornton notched his 34th assist of the year when he controlled the puck along the right boards before patiently finding Burns atop the right circle for the blast past goaltender Semyon Varlamov.
San Jose gained its first lead at 3-2 when Matt Irwin delivered a low shot from the left point that dipped between Varlamov’s pads at 13:02 on a Sharks power play.
The Avalanche fashioned a 15-13 edge in shots on net in the first period while building a 2-1 lead.
Before the scoring began, the clubs produced a pair of fights, with Sharks Mike Brown and Brad Stuart each earning five-minute stays in the penalty box.
When San Jose’s Tommy Wingels was called for the game’s first minor penalty at 10:24, the Avalanche responded with a goal 41 seconds later. Nathan MacKinnon, the first overall selection in the 2013 Entry Draft, powered a shot from the top of the right circle over Antti Niemi’s glove for the 1-0 lead.
San Jose countered with a power play goal on its first extra-man opportunity. Jason Demers whipped a low shot from the left circle into the net after taking Thornton’s soft pass from the endline at the 13:59 mark.
Colorado grabbed a 2-1 lead with 48.9 seconds left in the first period. Captain Gabriel Landeskog jammed a shot from the high slot past Niemi after Paul Stastny drew the San Jose defensemen to the right boards.
The Sharks begin a stretch of four games against Pacific Division foes Friday at Phoenix against the Coyotes. The Ducks visit San Jose Sunday before hosting the Sharks on Tuesday. Edmonton comes into SAP Center Thursday.  
Between the second and third periods, San Jose EVP & General Manager Doug Wilson reported that Sharks rookie Tomas Hertl, injured Thursday against the Los Angeles Kings, will undergo surgery on his right leg within the week.