Sharks Make Leap From 9th to 3rd

Sharks Make Leap From 9th to 3rd

Exactly 30 days after falling out of first place in the Pacific Division, the Sharks are back on top.

San Jose reclaimed the division lead Monday night at HP Pavilion with a convincing 5-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche -- and since each of their previous seven wins had been by one goal, there was a sense of relief not to be involved in another nail-biter.

"It's nice. Some guys can rest in the third period, which probably hasn't happened the last 15-20 games," captain Joe Thornton said. "It's nice to throw four lines out there and have everybody get their confidence going."

All of those lines contributed to the scoring as the Sharks got two goals from Joe Pavelski, one each from Andrew Desjardins and Torrey Mitchell, and an empty-netter from Ryane Clowe. Goalie Antti Niemi made 31 saves in earning his 31st victory of the season, giving up a lone goal to Avalanche defenseman Shane O'Brien.

Still, everybody knew it was far from mission accomplished even if the Sharks, with their third straight win, had just jumped from ninth place in the Western Conference to the No. 3 seed that comes with a division title.

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