SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -Joe Thornton had two goals and an assist in a dominant two-way performance, and the San Jose Sharks snapped a three-game winless streak with a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night.
Thornton scored two power-play goals in the first 25 minutes and bounced a pass off Mike Grier's skate for another man-advantage score while the Sharks held off the Avalanche, who lost for the fifth time in seven games.
Evgeni Nabokov stopped 18 shots in his 25th consecutive start for the Sharks, who finished up a tedious four-game homestand with their first victory since Nov. 15. The ironman goalie was chased by the Avalanche in a 6-2 loss last month, just the second time all season Nabokov didn't finish a game.
Defenseman Scott Hannan was booed in his first trip back to San Jose since leaving the Sharks to sign a four-year, $18.5 million deal with the Avalanche. Hannan got credit for the second assist on Hejduk's goal.
The game signaled a welcome return to the NHL grind for the Sharks, who had a full week off around Thanksgiving. After falling out of first place in the Pacific Division while playing just two games in the previous 12 days, San Jose picked up two points in the race on Dallas and Anaheim, both losers Friday.
Thornton got a first-period goal for the second straight game, directing a pass from Milan Michalek underneath Budaj on a power play less than 2 minutes in. The 2005-06 MVP scored again early in the second, whipping another shot under Budaj on another pass from Michalek for his second multigoal game of the season.
Thornton might be the NHL's best passer, but he's a notoriously reluctant shooter at times. With 11 goals through 24 games this season, he's well ahead of his previous career pace of 0.31 goals per game.
Colorado closed the gap with Hejduk's short-handed goal late in the second. Grier got his third goal of the season 97 seconds later when Thornton's impressive cross-ice pass ricocheted off Grier's right skate and into the net, but Brunette got credit for a power-play goal 89 seconds later on a shot that banked in off Sharks defenseman Kyle McLaren.
Thornton also made the Sharks' most important play in a scoreless third period, short-circuiting a Colorado power play in the final 5 minutes by drawing a tripping penalty from Brett Clark.
Notes: The teams meet again Monday night in Denver. ... RW Steve Bernier and McLaren were back in the Sharks' lineup after one-game benchings. ... Colorado RW Marek Svatos missed his first game of the season with a groin injury, while captain Joe Sakic played through his own groin pull. ... Rivet checked C Jaroslav Hlinka onto the San Jose bench in the second period.