Coming through with a huge goal for the second time in the playoffs, Joe Pavelski beat Craig Anderson with a wicked shot in overtime Tuesday night to give San Jose a much-needed 2-1 victory in Colorado that evened their series at two games apiece.
Scooping up the puck inside the Avalanche blue-line off a broken play, Pavelski wired a wrist shot past the glove hand of the surprised Colorado goalie 10:24 into OT.
"I was able to get it through," Pavelski said. "It was a game we really wanted. To go down 3-1 [in the series] would have been a real tough hole."
A strong two-way centre and excellent faceoff man, Pavelski has been the most effective player this post-season for struggling San Jose, which has received zero goals from its vaunted Big Three of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dany Heately (the latter was playing hurt after missing Game 3 with a lower-body injury).
Pavelski also came up big late in Game 2, forcing OT with a last-minute goal that led to Devin Setoguchi's winner.
Game 4 was the fourth straight one-goal decision and the third in a row to go to overtime in this surprisingly competitive first-round matchup between the top-seeded Sharks and the No. 8 Avalanche.
"When it gets into overtime, it just takes one good shot," said Avs coach Joe Sacco. "And that's what happened."
Game 5 goes Thursday back in San Jose (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 10:30 p.m. ET).
Redemption for Boyle
A pair of power-play goals accounted for the regulation-time scoring in Game 4.
Dan Boyle, whose bizarre own-goal in OT cost the Sharks Game 2, scored with the first shot of the game on Anderson, beating the red-hot netminder with a slap shot from the top of the left circle.
"I won't be better until we win the series," said Boyle, who also broke up a Colorado scoring chance in overtime. "All we did was tie the series."
Anderson, who was coming off a brilliant 51-save shutout, settled in and made 43 stops in Game 4.
"We would have liked to have had a better result, but at the end of the day we can look ourselves in the mirror and know we gave it our all," the goalie said. "We didn't get the bounce tonight."
Paul Stastny replied for Colorado early in the second period on a deflection of a John-Michael Liles point shot.
That was the only puck to elude Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov, who made the biggest of his 33 saves early in overtime.
Avs sniper Chris Stewart came down on the left wing looking like a threat to shoot, but at the last second dropped a neat backhand pass to Ryan O'Reilly, the man credited with the fluky overtime winner in Game 2. O'Reilly fired from close range, but Nabokov snared the puck between his left arm and his body.