Sharks beat Avalanche 5-1
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Marty Havlat scored three goals for the first time in nearly nine years, and the San Jose Sharks prevented Colorado from clinching the Central Division title with a 5-1 victory over the Avalanche on Friday night.
Patrick Bordeleau scored the lone goal for the Avalanche, who lost for the first time in regulation since March 21 against Boston. Colorado had gone 8-0-1 in its last nine games to move into a tie for first with St. Louis.
The Avalanche can win the division either by beating Anaheim on Sunday night in the regular-season finale or with a regulation loss by St. Louis earlier Sunday against Detroit.
Colorado needs the Ducks to lose Saturday in Los Angeles to have a chance of finishing in the top spot in the Western Conference.
San Jose is locked into the second seed in the Pacific Division and will open the playoffs at home next week against Los Angeles. The Sharks moved two points ahead of Chicago in the race for home-ice advantage in a possible conference final matchup.
Despite the significant stakes in the game for Colorado, coach Patrick Roy opted to give third-string goalie Reto Berra his second start since joining the team last month. The move backfired quickly as Berra allowed two goals on the first five shots he faced and was replaced by Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
Boyle opened the scoring with a well-placed shot from the faceoff circle just over 3 minutes into the game. Marleau ended Berra's night 10:11 into the game with a slap shot from the slot for his 33rd goal.
The Avalanche got on the board late in the second when Bracken Kearns failed to clear the puck from the defensive zone, leading to a 2-on-1 down low. Maxime Talbot slid a pass to Bordeleau, who shot a one-timer into the empty net.
Colorado nearly tied it after killing a high-sticking penalty to P.A. Parenteau. But Stalock stopped Parenteau on a breakaway just after he left the penalty box.
Havlat sealed the game with three goals in the third for his sixth career hat trick and first since Nov. 2, 2005, for Ottawa at Buffalo. Havlat scored on a deflection, a breakaway and then added an empty-net goal with 4:56 to play.
The big performance came when he was reunited on a line with Marleau and Logan Couture and one game after he was a healthy scratch in a crucial loss at Anaheim that ended the Sharks' chances at a division title.
The game was also notable for the Sharks because rookie Tomas Hertl returned to the ice for the first time since a knee injury in December. Hertl got a loud ovation his first time on the ice, and he generated a few good scoring chances.
Both teams also lost defensemen to injuries during the game with San Jose's Scott Hannan not returning after being hit high by Bordeleau in the first period.
NOTES: Parenteau (knee) returned to the lineup after missing 15 games. ... Sharks D Marc-Edouard Vlasic sat out to rest for the playoffs.