Avalanche Vs. Sharks: San Jose Leaps To 1st In Pacific As Joe Pavelski's 2 Goals Help Beat Colorado, 5-1

Mar 26, 2012; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski (8) receives congratulations from teammates after scoring a goal against the Colorado Avalanche during the second period at HP Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

Joe Pavelski earned the first-star honors Monday night after his two goals led the way for a Sharks win over Colorado, moving San Jose to the Pacific Division lead.

Coming into Monday's match, the San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche were ninth and 10th in the standings, respectively. After the Sharks took a 5-1 win at home over the Avs and the Los Angeles Kings lost, San Jose jumped to first place in the Pacific Division, once again changing the complexion of the Western Conference.

San Jose can thank Joe Pavelski's two goals for the push: the first to catapult the Sharks' scoring effort and the second to keep the game in the Sharks' stronghold. San Jose went up 2-0 after Pavelski and Andrew Desjardins scored early in the period, but just a couple minutes later, Ryan O`Reilly took advantage of the Sharks' double team, and found Shane O`Brien wide open to get Antti Niemi weak side, cutting the lead in half.

Torrey Mitchell scored last in the second, putting San Jose up 3-1, but Pavelski's second goal in the third period put the game out of reach for Colorado, who is now 6-25-0 when trailing after two periods.

A Sharks game is almost incomplete without Martin Havlat registering a point, as he assisted on Ryane Clowe's empty-netter to polish off a much-needed successful homestand, going 3-0 before San Jose heads back on the road to face the Anaheim Ducks Wednesday.

The Avs haven't done much to help themselves the last three games, going 0-2-1 in a stretch where they could have really solidified a spot in the playoffs. Still, they own 86 points, and eighth place holds 87 points.

See the full NHL scoreboard.

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