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Thornton's power-play prowess lifts Sharks past Avalanche

Nov 16, 2006 - 4:45 AM DENVER (Ticker) -- Joe Thornton and the San Joe Sharks were given an opportunity and, like good teams do, they took full advantage.

Thornton scored a power-play goal and helped set up another 17 seconds later midway through the third period to lift the Sharks to a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche.

After Colorado defenseman Brett Clark took a hooking penalty at 10:50 of the third period, Thornton and the Sharks went to work.

Thornton tied the game, 3-3, when he picked up a loose puck in the slot after a bad clear and snapped the puck past Colorado goaltender Jose Theodore at 10:55.

"It was one of those where you just shoot it and hope it finds the back of the net," Thornton said. "I just lost the draw and Milan (Michalek) knocked it down and it was kind of rolling, so I just decided to shoot it. It was a good play."

Patrick Marleau scored the game-winner on a 3-on-2 rush at 11:12 when he sliced toward the Colorado net and poked a rebound of Michalek's shot past Theodore.

"We had an opportunity and we grasped it," Marleau said. "Joe made a great play to Milan in front of the net, and Milan made a move and I had a wide open net. It was a great play."

Michalek had two assists, and extended his point streak to six games in which he has nine points, all assists.

"We slept through the second period, thank God we played with a little desperation in the third period and worked hard enough to get a couple power plays and took care of business," San Jose coach Doug Wilson said. "The second period was almost as bad as we've played, but we got it out of our system, and probably stole one point if not two."

The Sharks' comeback took place minutes after Joe Sakic gave the Avalanche a 3-2 lead when he streaked down the right side and beat San Jose goaltender Evgeni Nabokov between the pads at 8:32.

The goal gave Sakic 1,507 points, the fifth-highest amount of points with one franchise, passing Boston defenseman Ray Bourque. Edmonton's Wayne Gretzky is in fourth place with 1,669 points with the Oilers.

San Jose lost Jonathan Cheechoo, the reigning Maurice Richard Trophy winner, at 18:50 of the second period with a lower-body injury. He did not return.

"I'm not too sure what he's got," Marleau said. "Hopefully, it's not too serious, and hopefully he'll be out there soon."

The Avalanche, who got got goals from Brett McLean and Antti Laaksonen, have lost five of their last six games. Colorado went scoreless in four power-play opportunities, and is 0-for-17 in its last three games.

"Tonight was real frustrating," Sakic said. "I thought we had it, up 3-2, but we took a couple penalties and they capitalized on both of them. The effort was there tonight, and if we keep playing like that then we will be rewarded."

Curtis Brown and Steve Bernier scored for the Sharks, who concluded their four-game road trip at 2-2-0.

Nabokov finished with 40 saves while Theodore recorded 20 stops.

"Nabby obviously did a great job of keeping us in that (third) period and we came out and had a great third period," Thornton said. "But our goaltender played great for us, and he really won the game for us."

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