for this game

Avalanche top Sharks behind Hensick, Theodore

Feb 7, 2008 - 7:34 AM
SAN JOSE, California (Ticker) -- Who needs Joe Sakic, Paul Stastny and Ryan Smyth when you have T.J. Hensick?

Hensick snapped a tie midway through the second period and Jose Theodore made 30 saves as the Colorado Avalanche skated to a 3-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday.

Ben Guite and defenseman Jeff Finger also scored and blue-liner Brett Clark added two assists for Colorado, which still is without three of its top offensive weapons in Sakic, Stastny and Smyth due to injuries.

Despite the absences, the Avalanche have been sparked by the emergence of Hensick, a third-round pick in the 2005 draft.

"The veterans are always talking, giving me clues on how to play," the native of Lansing, Michigan said.

Entering with two-goal performances in each of his previous two games, Hensick gave Colorado a 2-1 edge at 12:51 of the second period with a power-play tally.

"You ride a hot streak like this for all it's worth," the 22-year-old Hensick said. "I think of myself as more of a playmaker than a scorer, but right now I'm scoring goals, so maybe it can continue. I feel confident. The net looks a little bigger than it normally does right now."

Just six seconds after Jonathan Cheechoo was called for hooking, Hensick deflected Clark's blast from the left point past goaltender Evgeni Nabokov for his sixth goal in 24 career contests.

"Right now, it's just a hot stick, I think," Hensick said. "It found a way through the five-hole. I hope this hot streak can continue. It's always exciting and fun to help the team any way you can. That being the first game-winning goal of my career, it feels really good."

"We always felt he could score and produce," Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. "The thing we've been looking for all year is to get our power play started and going, and he's been the catalyst for that right now."

Following a frenetic sequence as the Sharks attempted to tie the contest, Finger fired the puck the length of the ice for an empty-netter with one second remaining in the third, clinching the win.

"Obviously, we carried the play in the last two-thirds (of the game), had all the scoring chances," San Jose coach Ron Wilson said. "Their goalie came up big when he needed to."

Theodore also was a major factor in the victory, making turning aside all 11 shots he faced in the final period. The former Hart and Vezina Trophy winner, who had missed the previous three games with back spasms, improved to 7-4-1 in his last 12 starts.

"They crashed the net hard, so it was good to test things and make sure my back was good," Theodore said. "I think the trainers did a great job of rehabbing my back. Sometimes it's hard to be on the sidelines, but it was a smart thing to do."

"This was the first time Jose has seen pucks in a few days," Quenneville said. "Five seconds into the game, he's got Joe Thornton right down the gut. He made a great save right off the bat and got us into the game, including myself. Second period, he kept us in the game, and at the end, there was a lot of traffic at our end and he seemed to be as quick as I've seen him move."

After losing the starting job to Peter Budaj last season, Theodore appears to have regained his old form.

"For me, it's not about being in a groove, it's about finally playing the way I pretty much always played in my career," Theodore said. "Since I got traded (in March 2006), everybody obviously knew I wasn't playing the way I should. By playing hard and working with (goaltending coach Jeff) Hackett every day, I got my confidence to the next level."

Colorado opened the scoring midway through the first period, when Ian Laperriere took a pass from behind the net and dished to Clark for a one-timer from the right point. The blistering shot was tipped over Nabokov's glove by Guite at 10:24 for a 1-0 edge.

"We know coming in here, they always have strong starts," Guite said. "We came out and we matched their intensity and took the game to them a little bit."

San Jose was outshot, 13-4, in the opening period.

"We came out flat in the first," Sharks center Joe Pavelski said. "You aren't going to win many games with four shots in the first period."

"We needed to get more shots," San Jose captain Patrick Marleau added. "When we did that, we had some really good opportunities. I think we might have been able to shoot the puck more."

The Sharks tied the game on the power play at 5:53 of the second. A former member of the Avalanche, defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh intercepted a clearing attempt and made a hard pass from the left point to Marleau, who fired the puck into a vacant right side of the net from the bottom of the faceoff circle for his 10th goal of the season.

"That was a great pass," Marleau said. "(Ozolinsh) had his head up, he found the lane there. It looked like he was going to shoot, but he made a great pass and put it right on my tape. The defenseman almost got his stick on it, but it was nice."

Nabokov turned aside 22 shots for the Sharks, who had their three-game home winning streak snapped and fell to 1-1-0 on their season-high six-game homestand.

San Jose's Joe Thornton missed about 12 minutes of the first period when he was clipped in the nose by the blade of Colorado rookie Cody McLeod's stick.






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    Avalanche vs. SharksFeb 7 1:39 AM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLORADO 1 1 1 3
    SAN JOSE 0 1 0 1 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COL - BEN GUITE 7 (BRETT CLARK, IAN LAPERRIERE) 10:24
    2ND PRD: SAN - (PP) PATRICK MARLEAU 10 (SANDIS OZOLINSH) 5:53
    COL - (PP) T.J. HENSICK 6 (BRETT CLARK, JAROSLAV HLINKA)
    12:51
    3RD PRD: COL - (EN) JEFF FINGER 5 (UN

    Feb 7 12:55 AM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 3
    SAN JOSE 1
    3RD PRD: COL - (EN) JEFF FINGER 5 (UNASSISTED) 19:59

    Avalanche vs. SharksFeb 7 12:54 AM
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  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLORADO 1 1 2
    SAN JOSE 0 1 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COL - BEN GUITE 7 (BRETT CLARK, IAN LAPERRIERE) 10:24
    2ND PRD: SAN - (PP) PATRICK MARLEAU 10 (SANDIS OZOLINSH) 5:53
    COL - (PP) T.J. HENSICK 6 (BRETT CLARK, JAROSLAV HLINKA)
    12:51
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1S

    Feb 7 12:02 AM
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    Avalanche vs. SharksFeb 6 11:51 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 2
    SAN JOSE 1
    2ND PRD: COL - (PP) T.J. HENSICK 6 (BRETT CLARK, JAROSLAV HLINKA)
    12:51

    Avalanche vs. SharksFeb 6 11:51 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 1
    SAN JOSE 1
    2ND PRD: SAN - (PP) PATRICK MARLEAU 10 (SANDIS OZOLINSH) 5:53

    Avalanche vs. SharksFeb 6 11:36 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLORADO 1 1
    SAN JOSE 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COL - BEN GUITE 7 (BRETT CLARK, IAN LAPERRIERE) 10:24
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COL 13 13
    SAN 4 4
    GOALIES: COL - JOSE THEODORE
    SAN -

    Feb 6 11:09 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 1
    SAN JOSE 0
    1ST PRD: COL - BEN GUITE 7 (BRETT CLARK, IAN LAPERRIERE) 10:24

    Avalanche vs. SharksFeb 6 10:55 PM
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