Milan Hejduk scored 19 seconds into overtime and the Colorado Avalanche overcame a two-goal deficit to beat the San Jose Sharks 4-3 on Sunday night as they improved to 8-0-1 in their past nine games.
“I went down and tried to fake the shot, and he went down, and I shot it over him,” said Hejduk, who beat Evgeni Nabokov for his 45th career game-winning goal. “It’s a huge two points for us. It was a big game for us, a big win, and we need to keep it going.”
In their charge to catch Calgary for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West, the Avs pulled within four points of the struggling Flames, who have lost three straight and are 1-4-1 in their past six.
“We are now in a good spot where we have control over our own destiny,” said Colorado captain Joe Sakic, who assisted on all four goals. “We got Calgary twice, and that’s four points. We just have to keep building off of this and take it into Edmonton. I thought we played pretty solid in the first two periods. We were down by a couple, but we still felt good about ourselves.”
The Sharks did manage to cool off Paul Stastny, halting his rookie record scoring streak at 20 games.
“We wanted to make it hard on him,” Sharks forward Mike Grier said. “Just watching film we noticed the puck followed him around the ice. He has been their best player on the ice lately.”
The Sharks looked well on their way to a franchise-record 45th win when they took a 3-1 lead on goals by Joe Thornton, Milan Michalek and Bill Guerin. Instead, they lost for the first time in eight games.
With the Sharks ahead 3-2 early in the third period, Nabokov made a nifty glove save to turn away the Avalanche’s 5-on-3 power play that lasted 67 seconds and produced just two shots.
“My theory is that if you don’t score on a 5-on-3, you don’t win,” Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. “I don’t mind being wrong sometimes.”
With 6:46 left, Andrew Brunette scored his career-best 25th goal and 71st point when Ken Klee hit a simple backhand shot from the deep slot and Brunette jammed it into the net, tying it at 3.
“I don’t know what the Flames are feeling,” Sakic said. “But we know we still have a lot of work to do. I think confidence is a big thing. You can’t stress enough that when you put a good win streak together, you play with a lot of confidence, and right now we are believing in one another.”
Sakic, who hadn’t had a four-assist night in six seasons, got a two-minute penalty for hooking with 3:30 left but the Avs killed the power play by clearing out the puck four times.
The Avs had a man advantage in the overtime because Jonathan Cheechoo drew a two-minute interference penalty with just 13 seconds left in regulation.
“I barely even pushed the guy and he fell down,” Cheechoo said.
Michalek’s shot 27 seconds into the second period went off the stick of Colorado goaltender Peter Budaj – who hasn’t lost this month – and into the net, breaking a 1-1 tie. Four minutes later, Guerin scored his fifth goal in 10 games since the Sharks acquired him in a deadline deal from St. Louis.
The Avs pulled to 3-2 on John-Michael Liles’ rebound goal later in the second period.
Avalanche centre Tyler Arnason deflected a shot by Brett Clark past Nabokov on the power play to tie it at 1 midway through the first period. The Sharks had gone seven straight games without allowing a goal in the first two periods. During that stretch, San Jose had outscored its opponents 16-0.
Thornton had given the Sharks a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal eight minutes into the game, the 1,000th coached by San Jose’s Ron Wilson, who became the 13th coach in NHL history to reach that milestone and only the third active one.
“I was disappointed. I thought there would be some type of initiation with it,” Wilson cracked.
Notes: Stastny, who hadn’t been held scoreless since Feb. 1, scored 11 goals and 18 assists during his streak, the second-longest in franchise history behind Mats Sundin’s 30-game stretch in 1992-93. … Wilson joined Ottawa’s Bryan Murray and Florida’s Jacques Martin as the only active coaches to have reached 1,000 games.