for this game

Sharks take lead in Pacific with win over Avs

Mar 27, 2012 - 7:05 AM San Jose, CA (Sports Network) - Joe Pavelski scored twice and Antti Niemi made 31 saves as the San Jose Sharks jumped into first place in the Pacific Division with a 5-1 thumping of Colorado.

The win gives San Jose 88 points in the hotly contested division as the team now holds a one-point lead over both Dallas and Phoenix, which sit in seventh and eighth, respectively in the Western Conference.

Torrey Mitchell, Ryane Clowe and Andrew Desjardins all scored for the Sharks, who have won their past three games.

"You win games when you get all four lines scoring and that's what we had tonight," said San Jose forward Joe Thornton. "Every line out there had a jump to their skates and it's contagious. We got six games left and we have some more work to do."

Shane O'Brien had the lone goal and Semyon Varlamov was touched for four goals on 35 shots for the Avalanche, who have dropped their past three games.

With the loss, Colorado dropped to 10th in the Western Conference standings as the team has 86 points.

"I don't think we were the better team tonight," said Avalanche coach Joe Sacco. "We've been playing very well lately but tonight they outplayed us."

The game was scoreless through the first 20 minutes, but the Sharks took a 1-0 lead 3:50 into the second on Pavelski's wrister.

It was a 2-0 game at the 9:19 mark of the middle stanza when Andrew Desjardins' wrist shot from the left circle got past Varlamov.

Colorado cut its deficit to one with 8:13 to play in the second on a rush play. Gabriel Landeskog sent a pass from the right point to the slot where Ryan O'Reilly took to over to the left before sending it back the other way for the easy slam from O'Brien.

The Sharks, though, got the goal back four minutes later when Michal Handzus tried a wraparound from the left side that was stopped and Mitchell snapped home the rebound in front.

Just 35 seconds into the third on the power play, San Jose made it a 4-1 game when Pavelski jammed the puck in between the pads of Varlamov after Logan Couture made a power move to get the puck to the front.

Colorado pulled Varlamov with over four minutes to play, but Clowe scored into the empty net with 3:37 to play to seal the win.

Game Notes

Pavelski's second goal was his 300th career point...San Jose plays its next two games on the road starting on Wednesday in Anaheim...Colorado, which has just four games to play, is next in action on Wednesday in Vancouver...San Jose took three of four against Colorado this season...San Jose went 1-for-4 on the power play while Colorado was 0-for-2.