NHL Last Night: Thornton Leads Sharks to 9th Straight W

Joe Thornton scored the go-ahead goal with 12:19 to play, and the NHL-leading San Jose Sharks shook off a terrible start to earn their ninth straight victory, 3-2 over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.

Captain Patrick Marleau scored and Jeremy Roenick added his second goal in 26 games for the Sharks, 14-0-1 at home. San Jose survived an early deficit and an unusually sluggish performance with a stellar effort from Evgeni Nabokov, who stopped 29 shots while bailing out his teammates several times.

Fredrik Modin and Rick Nash scored for the Blue Jackets, who opened a three-game California road trip by losing at the Shark Tank for the 15th time in the franchise's 16 trips. Steve Mason, the NHL's top rookie in November, made 19 saves.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic had three assists for the Sharks, who improved the NHL's best record to 22-3-1 during one of the most impressive starts in NHL history.

Penguins 5, Hurricanes 2

At Raleigh, North Carolina, Petr Sykora scored two goals, Sidney Crosby had four assists and Pittsburgh spoiled Paul Maurice's first game in his second Carolina coaching stint.

Pascal Dupuis scored an early goal and NHL scoring leader Evgeni Malkin added two assists, even as his NHL lead over Crosby dwindled to two. Miroslav Satan and Ruslan Fedotenko also scored, and Dany Sabourin made 34 saves.

Tuomo Ruutu and Matt Cullen scored for the Hurricanes, playing a day after Peter Laviolette was fired and replaced by Maurice.

Canadiens 6, Rangers 2

At Montreal, Steve Begin and Maxim Lapierre each had a goal and an assist and Montreal celebrated its 99th birthday with a victory over Texas.

Andrei Kositsyn, Alex Tanguay, Robert Lang and Matt D'Agostini also scored to help the Canadiens improve to 3-0 on their franchise-record seven-game homestand.

The Canadiens, founded on Dec. 9, 1909, as an inaugural member of the National Hockey Association, unveiled bronze statues of Howie Morenz, Maurice "Rocket" Richard, Jean Beliveau and Guy Lafleur outside the Bell Centre earlier in the day.

Markus Naslund and Nigel Dawes scored in the second for New York.Red Wings 6, Canucks 5

At Detroit, Jiri Hudler and Dan Cleary each scored twice and Detroit broke a tie with a three-goal outburst early in the third period to beat Vancouver.

Nicklas Lidstrom added a goal and two assists, Derek Meech scored his first career goal for Detroit, and Chris Osgood made 20 saves.

Henrik Sedin had a goal and an assist, and Taylor Pyatt, Kyle Wellwood, Mason Raymond and Alex Burrows added goals for Vancouver.

Capitals 5, Islanders 2

At Washington, Donald Brashear scored his first goal of the season with 13:10 left to snap a tie for Washington.

Brashear, a rugged winger known more for his fighting than his skating, had gone 37 games without a goal before giving Washington a 3-2 lead.

Eric Fehr added a power-play goal with 3:46 to go, and Nicklas Backstrom scored into an empty net with 50 seconds remaining. Alex Ovechkin had a goal and two assists, and Viktor Kozlov also scored. Mark Streit and Trent Hunter scored for New York.

Devils 3, Panthers 2, OT

At Philadelphia, Patrik Elias scored the tying and winning goals to lead New Jersey past Florida.

Elias scored the winner at 2:46 of the extra period. He stole the puck in the slot, split two defenders and then put a backhander through goalie Martin Biron's pads.

Elias tied it with 1:30 left in regulation with a slap shot from just inside the blue line that trickled off Biron's midsection into the net.

Scottie Upshall gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead on a fluke play at 15:32 of the third period.

Zach Parise added a goal and an assist for the Devils, who have won six of their last seven games. Kimmo Timonen scored for the Flyers.

Bruins 3, Lightning 1

At Tampa, Florida, David Krejci scored the tiebreaking short-handed goal in the third period to gibe Northeast Division-leading Boston a win over Tampa Bay.

Phil Kessel had two goals, including an empty-netter with less than second remaining, for the Bruins, who are 12-1-1 since the start of November. Tim Thomas made 30 saves to improve to 7-1-1 in his last nine starts.

Martin St. Louis scored for Tampa Bay. The Lightning have lost six in a row and 13 of 15.

Panthers 2, Sabres 1

At Sunrise, Florida, Craig Anderson made 45 saves, and Gregory Campbell and Keith Ballard scored 35 seconds apart in the second period as Florida beat Buffalo.

Campbell scored for the third consecutive game and also had an assist for the Panthers. Florida has won three in a row and is 4-0-2 in its last six.

Ales Kotalik scored for Buffalo. The Sabres have lost eight of their last 10 and have scored only 19 goals during their slide.

Predators 3, Avalanche 2

At Nashville, Tennessee, Vernon Fiddler, Shea Weber and David Legwand scored first-period goals, and Pekka Rinne made 19 saves for Nashville.

Ryan Smyth and Wojtek Wolski had first-period scored goals for Colorado.

The Predators are 7-0-0 when leading after the first period and 10-2-0 when scoring the first goal. They're 8-1-0 when Weber scores.

Coyotes 6, Maple Leafs 3

At Glendale, Arizona, Martin Hanzal had his first three-goal game in the NHL, and Steven Reinprecht added a pair of third-period goals as Phoenix downed Toronto.

Todd Fedoruk also scored, and Derek Morris and Ed Jovanovski each added a pair of assists for Phoenix. The Coyotes have won four of their last five. Alexei Ponikarovsky scored twice, and Jason Blake had a goal and two assists for Toronto.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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