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Heatley, Thornton lead Sharks to 6-3 win over Flyers

by John Kreiser /
Dany Heatley and Joe Thornton were just too much for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Heatley had his ninth career hat trick -- scoring three goals that traveled a combined total of less than 10 feet -- and Thornton racked up four assists as the San Jose Sharks downed the Flyers 6-3 on Friday night in a meeting of two of the NHL's best teams.

Heatley twice had his stick on the ice in the crease to tap in precise passes from Thornton, then knocked in a rebound from the top of the paint at 12:44 of the third period to finish off his second hat trick as a Shark. He now has 17 goals, tops in the NHL.

"They were really clicking," coach Todd McLellan said of the unit of Heatley, Thornton and Patrick Marleau, who also had a goal. "They made a real impact on the game. I think they also got our team energized. They were there to play right off the bat, and it was nice to see them rewarded for it.

McLellan has shuffled his forwards this season, but he's made sure to keep the pairing of Heatley and Thornton together. Their chemistry is getting better by the day.

"They've played together enough," he said. "That's the one pair that's been together from the beginning of the year. We talked about creating that unity between the two of them -- knowing where they're going to be instinctively, rather than try to read it. Patty (Marleau) complemented them very

Manny Malhotra and Ryane Clowe also scored for the Sharks, who improved to 7-0-2 at HP Pavilion with their second victory over the Flyers in less than a month. San Jose now has 34 points, tops in the NHL.

Claude Giroux scored twice and Danny Briere once for the Flyers (12-6-1), who've split the first two games of their Western trip.

The Flyers, who haven't won in San Jose since Feb. 15, 1999, had no answer for the Sharks' big guns.

"They beat you every which way you can imagine," Flyers coach John Stevens said. "That top line kind of took the game away."

After Briere and Malhotra exchanged first-period goals, Heatley got his first of the night 50 seconds into the second period. Thornton appeared to wait forever before threading a perfect pass to Heatley's stick for the tap-in.

Malhotra accidentally knocked the rebound of Giroux's shot past Evgeni Nabokov at 12:24 to tie the game. But Marleau put the Sharks ahead to stay with 4.9 seconds left in the period when he ripped a one-timer on a pass from Dan Boyle that rolled up the pad of Ray Emery and trickled into the net.

Heatley got his second of the night 8:41 into the third period on a near-rerun of his first goal -- except this one came shorthanded. Again Thornton appeared to wait forever before making a perfect pass for the goal. The assist was the 600th of his career -- he's the 73rd player in NHL history to reach that milestone.

"It was typical Jumbo," Heatley said of Thornton's pass. "He's got such great patience. He waited and waited and waited, and gave me a tap-in."

Thornton said Heatley's ability to get open made his job easier.

"Both times I found him in the exact same spot," he said. "He stopped in the exact same spot .A lot of guys would have curled or kept going, but he stopped -- and eventually it was pretty easy to get the puck to him."

Thornton's patience was tough on his coach.

"Part of me? There's all of me -- both times," McLellan said when asked if he was on the bench wanting Thornton to shoot. "I actually joked with him a little on the bench. We got away with it that time."

Giroux cut the margin to one at 9:32 before Heatley completed his hat trick. Clowe rammed in the rebound of Malhotra's shot at 15:22 to give the Sharks some breathing room.

"You cant expect to allow five or six goals against a team like San Jose and win," Stevens said,

Material from team media was used in this report
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