Sharks still bite despite the absence of Thornton

Colarado Avalanche are stopped 4-3 as Setoguchi steps up to replace the form man for San Jose.

The San Jose Sharks shrugged off the absence of their leading scorer, Joe Thornton, to beat Colorado Avalanche 4-3 on Sunday. Devin Setoguchi scored twice including the game-winner at 14:11 in the third period to give the Western Conference-leading Sharks their fourth successive win. San Jose (47-19-10) lost Thornton, who leads the team in assists (66) and points (85), to a lower body injury on Saturday. He had played in 398 consecutive games before missing Sunday's contest.

"With [Thornton] out we need some secondary scoring," Setoguchi said. "I know that's my job and it was good to get a couple tonight and get on the board for us." Setoguchi opened the scoring in the first period before Colorado took a 2-1 lead on goals from Peter Mueller and Kevin Porter in the second. Jed Ortmeyer tied the score at 2-2 with less than two minutes to play in the period. In the third period, San Jose's Dan Boyle and Colorado's Mueller traded goals before Setoguchi hit the winner.

Colorado (41-27-7) have lost five of their last six games, slipping to eighth in the West. San Jose had endured a six-game losing streak prior to their recent string of wins and Sunday's victory was the coach Todd McLellan's 100th regular season triumph in just two seasons. Thomas Greiss, the back-up goaltender, made 42 saves to secure the win while the Colorado netminder, Craig Anderson, had 28 stops.

"We came up a little short," said the Colorado coach Joe Sacco. "I think if we play like we did tonight down the stretch here, we'll be fine. That's how we have to play, with that desperation. It's a word that's overused this time of the year but it's true." Meanwhile, the Calgary Flames posted one of their most impressive victories of the season, scoring four goals in the first period of a 5-3 win over the Washington Capitals.

The Flames temporarily delayed the Capitals' bid to secure the top seed in the Eastern Conference play-offs. Washington secured that, anyway, later in the day when New Jersey lost at Philadelphia. Calgary, ninth in the Western Conference, salvaged a three-game road trip that began with two defeats. Ales Kotalik, Ian White, Jay Bouwmeester, Niklas Hagman and Rene Bourque scored for the Flames. Miikka Kiprusoff made 31 saves. Alex Ovechkin got his 46th goal for Washington and added an assist to reach the 100-point mark for the fourth time in a season in his five-year NHL career.

* With agencies