DENVER – Pierre Turgeon became the 34th player in league history to reach 500 goals and Alex Tanguay scored twice, lifting the Colorado Avalanche to a 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks.

Turgeon, in his 18th season, had been waiting for the milestone goal since scoring twice against Vancouver on Oct. 27. He couldn’t have picked a better time to do it, scoring on a two-man advantage midway through the third period to give Colorado a two-goal advantage.

Turgeon was mobbed by teammates after one-timing Marek Svatos’ pass past Sharks goalie Vesa Toskala, then got hugs and slaps on the helmet from the rest as he reached the bench. The fans gave Turgeon a lengthy standing ovation as the “500” flashed on the scoreboard and he responded with a quick raise of the stick.

Turgeon’s goal put Colorado up 4-2 and Tanguay put the game out of reach two minutes later, scoring his fifth goal on a breakaway. Marek Svatos and John-Michael Liles also scored for Colorado, which finished its six-game homestand 5-0-1 – best in franchise history.

Tom Preissing and Jonathan Cheechoo scored for San Jose, which couldn’t overcome an early two-goal deficit and another shaky game by Toskala to lose its second straight after a five-game winning streak.

Avalanche goalie David Aebischer was steady after getting a game off on Saturday. He stopped 31 shots, including 18 in the first period, and the two goals off him – both in the second period – came on tough bounces.

The first came after a shot by Brad Stuart went through Aebischer’s pads and hit the post, leaving Preissing with an open net to cut Colorado’s lead to 2-1. The second came after Stuart’s tip shot skipped sideways to the left circle, where Cheechoo had a relatively easy shot for his seventh goal, making it 3-2.

As for Toskala, he had another shaky start and could be the odd man out now that Evgeni Nabokov is back.

He gave up goals to Liles and Tanguay in the game’s first three minutes and another to Svatos midway through the second after San Jose seemed to have taken over momentum.

Toskala is 0-4 and has allowed 17 goals in five games, numbers that aren’t likely to be good enough to keep him out of the minors with Nabokov back from injured reserve and rookie Nolan Schaefer off to such a great start (5-1, 1.94 goals-against average).

Notes: Colorado plays nine of its next 12 games on the road. … Colorado’s Joe Sakic had an assist on Tanguay’s first goal, moving him past Doug Gilmour for 14th on the NHL’s career points list with 1,415. … San Jose placed forward Scott Thornton (groin) on injured reserve before the game.

AP-ES-11-08-05 2331EST


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