Posted March 27, 2012 on AP on Fox

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 15: Joe Pavelski #8 of the San Jose Sharks skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on February 15, 2009 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Sharks 6-5. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Joe Pavelski scored two goals in helping the San Jose Sharks improve their playoff chances with a 5-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night. San Jose jumped into the Pacific Division lead with 88 points after both the Los Angeles Kings and Dallas Stars lost earlier on Monday. The Stars dropped all the way into a tie with Phoenix with 87 points for seventh and eighth place in the Western Conference. Andrew Desjardins, Torrey Mitchell and Ryane Clowe also scored for the Sharks, who won their third straight. Shane O'Brien scored for the Avalanche, who lost their third straight after going 7-1-1 in their previous nine games. Antti Niemi stopped 31 of 32 shots for the win while Semyon Varlamov had 31 saves. The Sharks scored three times in the second period to take the advantage. Pavelski made it 1-0 at 3:50 of the period following a faceoff. Pavelski had an open net after knocking in a rebound. Desjardins also got the bounce after a shot, getting a deflection of...
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