Avalanche 4, Sharks 3, OT

Kevin Porter quickly turned an awful night into an awfully good

one.

Porter scored on a breakaway with 2:53 remaining in overtime to

help the Colorado Avalanche rally for a 4-3 win over the San Jose

Sharks on Wednesday night.

The forward collected the puck near the center line, flew past

Sharks defenseman Kent Huskins and then beat goalie Antero

Niittymaki with a low shot just as Porter tumbled to the ice.

He kept on sliding, his teammates quickly racing to join him for

the celebration.

”We knew we were going to win once we got into overtime,”

Porter said.

Porter’s goal capped off an improbable comeback – and saved him

from slipping into coach Joe Sacco’s dog house. Sacco was irritated

with Porter over a few early turnovers, even having words with

him.

”I let him know about them,” Sacco said. ”I thought he needed

to respond and I thought he did.”

Early on, the Avalanche were struggling to get anything going

against Niittymaki, who faced just 22 shots all night.

This from a Colorado squad that’s averaging 3.41 goals a game,

the second-highest mark in the league.

The momentum began to shift early in the third period when Jamie

McGinn’s goal was disallowed after officials ruled he batted the

puck in with a high stick.

A video replay upheld the referee’s decision and the score

remained 3-1.

It’s a non-goal that would come back to haunt San Jose.

Chris Stewart made it 3-2 midway through the period and Paul

Stastny scored the equalizer 6 minutes later on a feed from

Stewart.

Peter Budaj ensured the game went into overtime as he turned

back a flurry of shots in the closing seconds of regulation.

”Sometimes, you’re not supposed to win and your goalie makes a

lot of saves, you kill a lot of penalties, you forecheck and you

get the goal,” Stastny said.

And quite a goal at that, in Stastny’s opinion.

”Awesome play,” Stastny said. ”(Porter) was just flying with

the puck.”

Kevin Shattenkirk also scored for the Avalanche, his first NHL

goal. The way the game ended made the achievement all the more

memorable.

”We came back in the third and took it to them,” Shattenkirk

said.

Logan Couture, Dan Boyle and Mike Moore added goals for the

Sharks, who had their winning streak halted at three games.

”I was happy with our guys, believe it or not,” said Sharks

coach Todd McLellan, whose team tied a season high with 43 shots on

goal. ”We lost the game and that’s the real disappointing thing.

But for the most part I thought we played a real solid game. They

scored a couple goals at fortunate times for them.”

Moore was called up before the game from Worcester of the

American Hockey League. He scored his first NHL goal on a shot that

trickled through the pads of Budaj in the second period, giving San

Jose a 3-1 lead.

The Sharks had ample opportunities in the first period, but

couldn’t capitalize on four power plays, including a double-minor

on Brandon Yip after his stick caught McGinn in the nose. McGinn

spent a few minutes on the bench with an ice pack pressed against

his face to staunch the bleeding before returning.

Near the end of the opening period, the Avalanche tied the game

when Shattenkirk grabbed a rebound on a power play and shot it over

the shoulder of Niittymaki.

Craig Anderson returned to practice but won’t rush back from a

balky right knee, especially with the way Budaj has been

playing.

Budaj is 6-3-1 since Anderson’s knee ailment. This also was

Budaj’s 10th straight start, his longest string in two years.

Before the morning skate Wednesday, Anderson said there was no

timetable for his return.

Notes: Swedish referee Marcus Vinnerborg worked his second

straight game Wednesday. He became the first European to work an

NHL game Tuesday night in Dallas. The NHL hired Vinnerborg over the

summer to referee primarily in the AHL. … Avalanche D Kyle

Quincey (head) missed his fifth straight game. … Sacco coached

his 100th game Wednesday. … Sharks D Douglas Murray missed a

second straight contest with a lower-body injury after blocking a

shot over the weekend against Calgary. … Avs D John-Michael Liles

had two assists. … Sharks F Ryane Clowe registered two

assists.