Cam Tucker

Avalanche, Sharks go back-and-forth before Colorado wins in a shootout

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The Avalanche was 1:31 away from a regulation win, but after surrendering the tying goal and surviving the ups and downs of three-on-three OT, Colorado emerged victorious in the shootout over the San Jose Sharks.

Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene scored in the skills competition to help the Avalanche earn an important 4-3 victory in the Western Conference Wild Card race.

The Avs now move four points clear of the Minnesota Wild for the final Wild Card spot. The Sharks, meanwhile, move within four points of the L.A. Kings for the lead in the Pacific Division.

The Sharks took the lead on Nick Spaling‘s first goal for San Jose in his debut with his new team. The Avalanche countered on a Shawn Matthias goal, as he scored in his debut with Colorado.

Back and forth the two teams went again in the third period, with San Jose taking the lead and surrendering it again before Joel Ward‘s tying goal courtesy a perfect Joe Thornton pass in the final minutes sent the game to overtime.

Calvin Pickard, getting the start over Semyon Varlamov (flu), made 30 saves and two more in the shootout to earn the win.

Video: Ducks’ Lindholm returns to game after being hurt in collision with Sabres’ Kane

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The Anaheim Ducks had some anxious moments when 22-year-old defenseman Hampus Lindholm was hurt following a collision with Buffalo Sabres forward Evander Kane in the first period of Wednesday’s game.

Kane had Lindholm lined up, but the Ducks’ blue liner, who was rushing the puck out of the defensive zone, pulled up just before full contact was made, as the two players appeared to collide knee-on-knee.

There was no call on the play.

Video: Newly acquired Spaling makes instant impact for Sharks

Nick Spaling, recently traded from Toronto, scored just 2:10 into his debut for the San Jose Sharks against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday.

After going 34 games without a goal this season, Spaling has now scored in back-to-back games, including his last with the Maple Leafs. With the Sharks, he ripped a perfect shot over the left shoulder of Colorado puck stopper Calvin Pickard.

His former Leafs teammate Shawn Matthias countered for the Avalanche later in the opening period. Matthias was also making his debut for his new team.

Video: Pastrnak, Marchand and the Bruins overpower Penguins

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In a game that had a playoff vibe, the Boston Bruins completely took over late in the third period to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday.

It was close through two-and-a-half periods. But the final 10 minutes of the game belonged to the Bruins, as they erupted for three goals in that span to secure a 5-1 victory over Sidney Crosby and the visiting Penguins. Tuukka Rask made 41 saves for the win.

The win vaults Boston into third in the Atlantic Division, while Pittsburgh remains in the final Wild Card spot in the East, one point ahead of the New Jersey Devils.

David Pastrnak scored twice for Boston, including a goal on a penalty shot to set a new Bruins franchise record for most penalty shot goals in a season.

And Brad Marchand continued his stellar 2015-16 season.

He scored Boston’s fifth goal of the night, giving him 31 in 56 games, as he piles on to a career best season in that category. He’s now tied for fourth in the NHL in goals with former Bruin forward Tyler Seguin.

WATCH LIVE: Sharks at Avalanche

San Jose Sharks v Colorado Avalanche
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The Colorado Avalanche look to move four points ahead of the Minnesota Wild in the Western Conference Wild Card race, as they take on the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday. You can catch the game on NBCSN starting at 10:15 p.m. ET, or watch live online using NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

The Sharks sit third in the Pacific Division standings, five points behind the division-leading L.A. Kings.

Links to check out for this game:

Goalie nods: Varlamov has the flu so it’s Pickard against the Sharks