Wed, Dec 30, 2009 - Page 19 News List

Sharks win to stretch division lead

REUTERS AND AP , SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA AND COLUMBUS, OHIO

The San Jose Sharks edged the Phoenix Coyotes 3-2 in a shootout on Monday to pull further clear at the top of the Pacific Division.

Evgeni Nabokov made 31 saves and denied the visitors a goal in the shootout as the Sharks (24-8-7) stretched out to a four-point divisional advantage over the second-place Coyotes.

“I thought it was a heck of a game,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan told reporters.

“Both goaltenders showed why they’re Olympians. There were some tremendous saves at both ends. I thought it was a very intense game. It was a good game for us to play in.”

San Jose grabbed an early 2-0 lead behind goals from Devin Setoguchi and Joe Pavelski, who converted a shorthanded score at 5:17 in the second period as well as the lone strike and game-winner in the shootout.

Phoenix (24-13-3) recovered with a second-period charge that included goals by Petr Prucha and Shane Doan, but were unable to add to the tally.

In the shootout, Pavelski scored on his team’s first attempt while the Coyotes’ Peter Mueller and Radim Vrbata could not convert chances and the game ended when Robert Lang’s shot was saved.

Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov made 36 saves, including 19 stops in the third period to keep the visitors in contention.

“It was a great game, a fun game,” Bryzgalov said.

“There were lots of scoring chances for both sides. We were playing against a good team and that’s what you’re going to see, a good game.”

The surprising Coyotes, who have encountered financial issues while failing to reach the playoffs in six straight seasons, had beaten San Jose in two previous meetings.

The Sharks, who lead the Western Conference in goals scored have won five straight games.

BLUE JACKETS 1, RED WINGS 0

Fredrik Modin backhanded in a rebound of his own shot 3:12 into overtime to give Columbus a win over the Detroit Red Wings on Monday, ending the Blue Jackets’ franchise-tying nine-game losing skid.

Steve Mason had 34 saves for his second shutout of the year.

Modin carried the puck into the offensive zone and past defenseman Brett Lebda to flick a shot at Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard. He stopped the shot but Modin continued to skate and was able to backhand a shot past a diving Lebda that went behind Howard.

Howard stopped 39 shots.

In other NHL action it was:

• Flames 4, Oilers 1

• Wild 4, Kings 3

• Hurricanes 6, Capitals 3

• Devils 3, Thrashers 2

• Senators 4, Canadiens 2

• Lightning 2, Bruins 1

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