San Jose’s Joe Pavelski scored with just less than 20 seconds left in regulation to tie the game and set the stage for the Sharks to ultimately prevail in a shootout and beat Colorado 5-4 in an NHL thriller on Monday.
San Jose’s win over Colorado built to an epic climax, with Erik Johnson and Jamie McGinn scoring 12 seconds apart in the final two minutes to put the Avalanche up 4-3.
Yet there was still time for Pavelski to tie the score after taking a pass from Joe Thornton, before Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau scored in the shootout to secure two points for the Sharks.
Jason Demers, Brent Burns and Matthew Irwin also scored for San Jose, while Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog tallied for Colorado.
Anaheim also won a close game, edging Washington 3-2 to open the Ducks’ lead in the Pacific Division to five points over rivals Los Angeles.
Hampus Lindholm scored the winner at 14:24 of the third period, while Andrew Cogliano had a goal and an assist, and Saku Koivu also netted for the Ducks, who have won a franchise-best nine straight.
Elsewhere in the league, Dallas’ Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn scored on the Stars’ first shots, laying the foundation for a 5-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings.
It was a horror start for previously unbeaten Kings rookie goaltender Martin Jones, who conceded further goals to Valeri Nichushkin in the second period and Cody Eakin with 4:48 remaining.
There was another 5-2 scoreline in Chicago, where Patrick Sharp scored twice and Patrick Kane, Bryan Bickell and Nick Leddy also connected as the Blackhawks beat New Jersey.
Elsewhere in the NHL, Craig Anderson made 27 saves for his second shutout this season as the Senators cruised to a 5-0 win over Pittsburgh, while Carl Soderberg scored on a power play and had two assists to help the Bruins beat Nashville 6-2.
Meanwhile, Joe Colborne scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Flames a come-from-behind 4-3 win over St Louis, while Wayne Simmonds had two goals and an assist as the Flyers downed Minnesota 4-1.
Also on Monday, Buffalo scored in bizarre circumstances to take a 2-1 win over Phoenix when the puck became lodged in the goalie’s jersey and he unwittingly took it across the line to end the game.
In the day’s other games, Martin St Louis’ goal and two assists helped the Lightning beat state rivals Florida 6-1 to make it five straight wins, while the Rangers defeated Toronto 2-1 win and the Blue Jackets rallied to a 4-3 win over Carolina.
Evgeni Nabokov made his 56th shutout as the Islanders routed Detroit 3-0, while the Oilers claimed a 6-2 victory over Winnipeg and the Rangers beat the Maple Leafs 2-1.