Avalanche top Sharks to clinch playoff berth

Cesar Tordesillas – 4E Sports Contributor

Denver, CO, United States (4E Sports) – Semyon Varlamov had 47 saves as the Colorado Avalanche subdued the San Jose Sharks, 3-2 Saturday at Pepsi Center.

Center John Mitchell had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche, who clinched their first playoff berth in four years.

Paul Stastny gave the Avs a 1-0 lead.

Joe Pavelski tied it for the Sharks on a power play less than two minutes later.

Cody McLeod sneaked behind the Sharks defense, took a long pass from Nick Holden and beat Stalock to give the Avs a 2-1 lead at 10:34 of the first.

John Mitchell came through with a big power-play goal to give Colorado a 3-1 lead at 6:32 of the second period.

Dan Boyle cut the lead to 3-2 when he took a pass from James Sheppard and scored off Varlamov’s left shoulder at 8:35 of the second.

Varlamov stopped 20 shots in the third period, many during the final minutes when the Sharks were trying to get the equalizer.

The relentless Sharks threw a total of 74 shots at Varlamov. The Avs blocked 25.

His 37 wins are the most in the NHL and a big reason the Avalanche reached 100 points for the first time in 10 years.

Goalie Alex Stalock had 19 saves for San Jose before being pulled for an extra attacker in the final minute.

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