NHL Game Summary - San Jose at Colorado
(Sunday, March 18th)
Final Score: Colorado 4, San Jose 3 (OT)
Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Milan Hejduk scored the game-winner just 19 seconds into overtime, Joe Sakic had four assists, and the Colorado Avalanche defeated San Jose, 4-3, as Sharks head coach Ron Wilson became just the 13th head coach in NHL history to reach 1,000 games.
Tyler Arnason and John-Michael Liles also tallied, and Andrew Brunette had a goal and an assist for the Avs, who are 8-0-1 in their last nine games and have pulled within four points of slumping Calgary for the final Western Conference playoff spot.
Peter Budaj made 21 saves in the victory for Colorado.
"It's fun because now we're winning," said Hejduk after the game. "Right now we're just playing good hockey. We're just getting the bounces. One goal down going into the third, this is a huge win. We're four points back, but we're in the ball game."
Joe Thornton and Milan Michalek each had a goal and an assist, and Bill Guerin also scored for San Jose, which had its four-game winning streak snapped and is still a game-shy of setting a new franchise record for wins in a season. Evgeni Nabokov stopped 40-of-44 shots faced in a losing cause.
Wilson, who was hired by San Jose on December 4, 2002, has compiled a 150-111-33 record in 294 games with the Sharks. He has led the team to its third consecutive season of 40 or more wins, including a franchise-best 23 road wins in 36 games so far in the 2006-07 campaign.
Only two other active coaches -- Ottawa's Bryan Murray and Florida's Jacques Martin -- have reached the milestone.
With Colorado facing a 3-2 deficit in the third, Brunette reached a new career high with his 25th goal of the season in the third. Camped on the doorstep, he watched as Ken Klee took the initial shot from the deep slot, then poked a rebound chance between the left post and the glove of Nabokov with 6:46 remaining in the contest.
Then, in overtime, Hejduk nabbed the puck and moved around Curtis Brown, and, from the right circle, wristed the shot past Nabokov to send the Pepsi Center crowd into a frenzy.
"We have been pretty loose," said Brunette. "We're just rolling along a little bit. Let's not kid ourselves, we are getting bounces that we did not get earlier this year. We're just trying to battle our way back into the playoffs."
A power play marker gave San Jose the early lead, as Matt Carle took the initial shot and Thornton was there to bang home the rebound into a wide open net off the left side and make it 1-0 at 8:14 in the first.
A man-advantage opportunity for Colorado also paid immediate dividends, as Arnason ripped a shot past Nabokov on the stick side at 11:55 to tie the game at 1-1.
The Sharks went up 2-1 in the middle stanza, off a giveaway by Brunette. Thornton nabbed the puck and dished to Michalek, who wristed a shot past Budaj just 27 seconds into the frame.
Guerin made it 3-1 when he lit the lamp on a one-timer between circles at 4:09, but Liles cut the Colorado deficit to 3-2 when, in the middle of traffic, he stuffed a rebound past a diving Nabokov at 8:25.
Paul Stastny's 20-game point streak, the longest by an NHL rookie and the longest in the league this year, came to an end. He had 11 goals and 18 assists during the run, which is still 10 shy of the franchise record for any player, set by Mats Sundin for the Quebec Nordiques at the start of the 1992-93 season...It was Liles first goal in 10 games...Sakic has three goals and six assists in the last three games...Brunette has one goal and seven assists in the last five games...Thornton has four goals and 10 assists in last seven contests...It was Hejduk's 45th career game-winning goal.
03/18 23:12:45 ET