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NHL Game Summary - Colorado at San Jose
(Friday, April 11th)
Final Score: San Jose 5, Colorado 1
San Jose, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - With a division title on the line, the Colorado Avalanche couldn't end their struggles in San Jose.
A third-period hat trick by Marty Havlat highlighted the Sharks' 5-1 win on Friday night.
The surprising Avalanche, who finished in the Western Conference basement last season, had a chance to clinch the Central Division crown with reeling St. Louis losing to Dallas.
Despite its 12th consecutive regular-season road defeat to the Sharks, Colorado remains in the driver's seat for its first division title since 2003.
The Avalanche are tied with the Blues in points (111) but own the tiebreaker with more non-shootout wins. A win Sunday when they wrap up the regular season at Anaheim or a sixth straight regulation loss by St. Louis will secure the division title for the Avalanche. The Blues host Detroit on Sunday.
"We kind of control our own fate here," said Avs defenseman Erik Johnson. "As tough as it was to give this one up, we still control our own fate. That's a good position to be in."
Havlat registered his natural hat trick in 9:38, blowing open what was a tight game.
"Doesn't matter who scores the goals tonight," Havlat said. " It's about how we end up the regular season and getting ready for the real season."
Alex Stalock made 32 saves for San Jose, which have home-ice advantage against Los Angeles in the first round of the playoffs.
Knowing what was at stake, Colorado head coach Patrick Roy still decided to start goaltender Reto Berra and the third-stringer was quickly removed after allowing two goals on five shots in a little over 10 minutes. Backup Jean- Sebastien Giguere made 22 saves in relief.
Semyon Varlamov was given the night off a day after earning his NHL-best 41st win to break Roy's single-season franchise record.
The loss to San Jose ended Colorado's nine-game point streak (8-0-1).
Berra was beaten on a stoppable shot from the right circle by Dan Boyle 3:01 into the contest. Patrick Marleau ripped a slap shot past Berra's glove at 10:11.
Patrick Bordeleau scored the Avalanche's lone goal at 15:18 of the second period after Ryan O'Reilly made a good play to keep the puck in the San Jose zone.
The third period belonged to Havlat, who made it 3-1 with a deflection goal at 5:26. He buried his own rebound after being stopped on a breakaway at 13:40 and completed the trifecta with an empty-netter at 15:04.
San Jose reached 50 wins for the fourth time in franchise history ... Colorado hasn't won at San Jose in the regular season since Feb. 6, 2008 ... Sharks rookie forward Tomas Hertl and Colorado forward P.A. Parenteau both returned to the lineup after missing time with knee injuries. Hertl played his first game since suffering a knee injury that required surgery on Dec. 19, while Parenteau was back after a 15-game absence.
04/12 02:53:14 ET