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Setoguchi and Michalek each score a a pair as Sharks down Avalanche 5-3

DENVER - Off to a perfect start at home, the San Jose Sharks are also demonstrating their mettle on the road.

Devin Setoguchi and Milan Michalek each scored two goals and the Sharks fended off Colorado's third-period offensive flurry to beat the Avalanche 5-3 Sunday night for their fourth consecutive victory.

Colorado outshot San Jose 18-7 in the final period and scored twice but ultimately couldn't get the breakthrough against goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, who had 33 saves en route to his eighth win in 10 starts this season.

"They came after us pretty good," added Sharks coach Todd McLellan. "They were able to get their defencemen involved and we were a little disorganized. They're going to be a tough team to beat all year and they're going to make a lot of teams feel like we did in the third period tonight."

But in the end, the Avalanche onslaught was only harrowing for the Sharks, whose road record improved to 4-2 to go with their 6-0 mark at home.

Road success is "essential in this league," McLellan said. "You could win every home game, but 41 wins doesn't get you in the playoffs a lot of times. You'd better be able to respond on the road. This was a good learning experience for us early in the year."

Just as long as the Sharks don't repeat it, San Jose defenceman Rob Blake said.

"It's a different style game on the road," Blake said. "Sometimes, you keep it simple. Tonight, it was that kind of game for us. We ended up getting it but we've got to improve on the road continuously. We gave up way too many chances there in the third. I thought we were a little sloppy there."

Still, the Sharks sent the Avalanche to a third consecutive loss since its five-game winning streak.

"We have been on a roller coaster," Colorado coach Tony Granato said. "We've done things well enough at certain times to make us feel optimistic, but when you lose games, you're not doing what you're supposed to be doing."

Colorado was down 2-0 before getting on the board 14:24 into the first on a goal by Jordan Leopold, who fired in a shot from the right point after Paul Stastny got the puck out to him following a faceoff.

But the Sharks rebuilt their advantage on Setoguchi's second goal with 7:17 remaining in the second period. Passes from Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton got the puck in front of the net to Setoguchi, who wristed it past goaltender Peter Budaj.

The Avalanche got back to within a goal 90 seconds into the third period when Milan Hejduk got his stick on a loose puck in the slot and backhanded it into the net. Again, though, the Sharks responded. Taking advantage of an Avalanche turnover, Rob Blake passed the puck to Michalek, who shot from inside the right circle before putting back his own rebound to join Setoguchi in scoring multiple goals.

"This was a disappointing loss. We battled and competed, but we gave up too many rebound goals," said Budaj.

Colorado scored again with 6:19 remaining on a wrist shot by John-Michael Lilies from the left circle only to see San Jose secure the victory on Ryane Clowe's rebound shot with 1:44 left.

"Everyone is putting up points," said Setoguchi. "Every line, when they can contribute like that, it's tough for other teams to match lines. It's pretty effective for our team."

San Jose opened the scoring at 7:02 when Michalek's slapshot from the top of the left circle got past Budaj. Joe Pavelski set it up with a cross-ice pass.

Two minutes later, Setoguchi beat Budaj from up close with an assist from Christian Erhoff. Budaj was drawn to the left side of the net by Erhoff's rush before the San Jose defenceman dished the puck across the crease to Setoguchi, who knocked it in for his sixth goal of the season.

Notes: Erhoff's assist on Setoguchi's first goal represented his 100th career point. ... Pavelski has contributed an assist or goal in each of his last four games for the Sharks... Colorado headed to Chicago to play the Blackhawks on Monday night, where the Avalanche will complete the first of its four back-to-back sets this season. ... The setback marked Colorado's first loss in its last 12 Sunday home games. Minnesota was the last team to beat the Avalanche on a Sunday home date on April 9, 2006.



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