NHL Game Summary - San Jose at Colorado
(Monday, December 3rd)
Final Score: San Jose 3, Colorado 2
Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Mike Grier's third-period goal proved to be the game-winner as San Jose edged Colorado, 3-2, at the Pepsi Center.
Milan Michalek and Steve Bernier also scored, Joe Thornton had a pair of assists and Evgeni Nabokov turned aside 33 shots for the Sharks, who snapped a three-game skid with consecutive victories over Colorado, the first coming in a 3-2 win on Friday.
Milan Hejduk and Andrew Brunette lit the lamp for Colorado, which has dropped three of five. Jose Theodore made 25 saves in defeat.
The Avalanche once again played without captain Joe Sakic, who sat out Saturday's 5-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings because of a sore groin, ending his regular-season streak of 232 consecutive games played.
The Sharks needed just 3:14 to grab the lead, as Thornton made a pass to Jonathan Cheechoo as he circled behind the net. Cheechoo then fed Michalek for a slapshot from between the circles that found the back of the cage.
That lead would last just 12 seconds, though, as Hejduk took a feed along the right side, deked and rifled a shot that sailed past Nabokov.
Bernier broke the deadlock at 9:20 of the second period when he tried to make a pass but had it blocked. Bernier then regrouped, shifted around a defenseman and, at the edge of the right circle, wristed the puck under the glove of Theodore.
San Jose extended the lead with 11:30 remaining in the contest as Grier took a shot from along the right boards that appeared to be tipped on the way to the net. The puck took a bad hop, skipped up in the air and over the left pad of Theodore, making it 3-1.
"I think it hit their d-man and got a good bounce," said Grier. "Two teams fought well and just grinded it out. We got off to a good start, the guys had some good shots and a solid effort. They picked it up in the third. (Avs defensemen John-Michael) Liles and (Brett) Clark came in on the rush but we kept it inside our zone."
The Avs pulled within one with 3:05 to go when Brunette found the five-hole on a left-handed shot just off the faceoff, but they couldn't net the equalizer after pulling the netminder with 1:05 to play.
"We've got some big games ahead of us," said Clark. "We have to focus on what we did in the last 20 minutes tonight and move on."
Hejduk has a four-game point streak with three goals and three assists...Cheechoo registered his first point in seven games...Thornton has three goals and four assists in his last three games...The Avalanche still need two more wins overall to reach 1,000 as a franchise.
12/03 23:53:40 ET