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Sharks continue domination of Hawks

by Brian Hunter / NHL.com
The San Jose Sharks continued their roll through the first quarter of the NHL season by taking two points against a team they've owned in past seasons -- but it took four power-play goals and a third-period comeback to pull it off.

Devin Setoguchi scored from the high slot with 4:15 left in regulation and the Sharks held on for a 6-5 win over the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center, improving to 15-3-1 this season. It was also San Jose's 12th consecutive victory against Chicago.

"As soon as I got the puck I took a quick look at the net and saw traffic there," said Setoguchi, who picked up his 10th goal and also had an assist. "I figured I'd bury my head and just shoot as hard as I could. It found a hole and went in."

Dan Boyle connected on a pair of power-play goals for the Sharks, the second of which tied the game at 5 one minute into the third. San Jose also got markers from Joe Thornton and Setoguchi in finishing 4-for-6 with the extra man. Milan Michalek and Jeremy Roenick had their other scores and Brian Boucher finished with 28 saves.

Cam Barker and Patrick Kane scored power-play goals 18 second apart late in the second to give the Blackhawks a 5-4 lead, their only advantage of the game. Kris Versteeg netted two goals, one a shorthanded tally, and ex-Shark Brian Campbell scored as Chicago rallied from 1-0, 2-1 and 4-2 deficits.

"It was one of those crazy nights when the last guy standing wins," Boucher said. "You got to win all different ways. Two points is two points. And on the road against a team that hasn't lost in regulation, it's a nice win for us."

Michalek ripped a shot from the left circle past Cristobal Huet just 42 seconds into the game, getting San Jose on the board. After a high-sticking penalty to Barker later in the period, the teams traded goals with Versteeg drawing the Blackhawks even while down a man at 8:51 and Thornton converting on the power play just 24 seconds later to restore the Sharks' lead. Campbell, who was traded to San Jose by Buffalo at last season's trade deadline, struck against his old mates with 2:27 to play in the first for a 2-2 tie.

The Sharks took a two-goal lead before the midway point of the second, as Boyle netted his first power-play goal at 5:51 and the veteran Roenick recorded his first of the season at 9:10 after Blackhawks defenseman Brent Sopel turned the puck over deep in his zone.

But the Blackhawks ripped off the next three goals to grab the lead after 40 minutes. Versteeg got his second of the game when his centering pass deflected in off Boucher's stick just 1:43 after Roenick scored. Barker scored at 17:34 and Kane at 17:52 as Chicago struck quick following penalties to Tomas Plihal and Thornton.

"For the coaches involved, and even the players, I'm sure they're not satisfied with the way the night evolved," San Jose coach Todd McLellan said. "It was quite sloppy. Both teams had good moments and bad moments, but that looked more like a preseason game in my opinion."

Chicago coach Joel Quenneville, who watched his team lose in regulation for the first time at home this season, saw a few less positives than his counterpart.
"They got the lead on the first shift," Quenneville said. "We couldn't keep possession of the puck. And some of the penalties we took … not with a power-play threat they have.
"I'm not happy at all with the way this thing ended. They're a good team. We had them where we wanted them and let them off the hook. We were gracious."

Flyers 4, Thrashers 3 | Video

San Jose wasn't the only team on Sunday to continue domination of a particular opponent: Philadelphia now owns 12 straight wins against Atlanta, after Antero Niittymaki made 29 saves to lead the Flyers past the Thrashers at Wachovia Center.

Bryan Little and Vyacheslav Kozlov scored third-period goals to rally the Thrashers from a 3-1 deficit and put them in position for a franchise-record sixth consecutive victory. But Joffrey Lupul netted the go-ahead goal with 6:17 remaining, just 1:40 after Kozlov tied it.

Lupul carried the puck from center ice, went around a defender at the faceoff circle and scored on a slap shot between the pads of Atlanta goalie Johan Hedberg.

"I thought he made a heck of a move there," Flyers coach John Stevens said. "The game is on the line, we are a little bit tired and he comes down and looks like he wanted to make a difference there."   

Niittymaki, who usually makes a difference against the Thrashers, turned aside 19 shots in the third period alone and improved to 11-0 career against them.

"Everybody keeps asking me the same thing and I don't have the answer," Niittymaki said. "I don't know what to say, it's just one of those things that you feel comfortable playing against that team."

Simon Gagne, Mike Knuble and Kimmo Timonen also scored for the Flyers, who are 3-0-1 following a three-game losing streak.

"Our guys are tired, it was four games in six days and getting seven out of eight points is exactly what we needed," Stevens said. "We needed to get points. We needed to help ourselves this week. We were looking at this week as a difficult week but we also said in the beginning of the week it’s a real opportunity for us to help ourselves and we did."

 
 
Philadelphia scored early and late in the first period to open up a 2-0 lead. Gagne lit the lamp just 53 seconds after the opening faceoff and Knuble scored 21 seconds before intermission.

Erik Christensen got Atlanta on the board 5:45 into the second with his first of the season, but Timonen answered on a power play at 11:27 to restore the two-goal cushion.

"I wasn't upset that we were behind but how we got behind," Atlanta coach John Anderson said. "We gave them a breakaway in the first minute of the game and set the table."

Canadiens 3, Blues 2 (SO)
| Video

Robert Lang scored with 4:12 left in regulation and Alex Kovalev netted the winner in a shootout as Montreal rallied for a win at Scottrade Center and took a little of the luster off an exciting day for St. Louis forward Steve Regier.

In his first game for the Blues, the 24-year-old notched his first two NHL goals. They were also the first points for Regier, who had played 18 games in parts of three seasons with the Islanders.

Andrei Kostitsyn also scored for the Canadiens and goalie Carey Price made 24 saves through regulation and overtime before stopping all three St. Louis attempts in the shootout. Kovalev beat Manny Legace with a high backhander on Montreal's final chance for the win.
   
''It was a pretty sweet deke,'' Montreal winger Christopher Higgins said. ''I don't think anyone expects less from him right now because he's such a skilled player.''

''I knew he was going there, too,'' Legace said. ''I was just slow to react to it. He's a good player and can put it where he put it, probably two feet over my pad. Not too many guys can pull it that quick and bang, in the back of the net.''

The Blues lost Andy McDonald to a left leg injury in the third period. Coach Andy Murray said after the game that McDonald suffered a fracture and that more would be known Monday. The team has been playing without Paul Kariya, whom Murray said he hoped would be back in the lineup Friday against Anaheim.

"Nobody feels sorry for us," Murray said. "We battled one of the better teams in the League right to the end with the lineup we had tonight, so give our guys credit. We'll find a way."

Regier got the Blues on the board 3:48 into the first. Cam Paddock won a faceoff and Cam Janssen took a shot that deflected off Regier and past Price. The goal was originally credited to Janssen, which would have been only his second in 122 NHL games, but was changed to Regier after being reviewed.

Kostitsyn tied the score with 1:55 left in the second, racing up ice after an outlet pass by Price and squirting a backhander between Legace's pads. Regier struck again from the low slot 3:24 into the third, but Lang forced overtime for the Canadiens when he scored off a Kostitsyn assist.

''I thought tonight was one of our best games,'' Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said. ''We were able to battle back in the third and win it in a shootout, so we're really happy.''

Ducks 2, Kings 0 | Video

Jonas Hiller made 29 saves to record his first NHL shutout, getting all the offense he would need when Corey Perry scored midway through the game. Bret Hedican added an insurance goal in the third for Anaheim.

"It was one of those crazy nights when the last guy standing wins. You got to win all different ways. Two points is two points. And on the road against a team that hasn't lost in regulation, it's a nice win for us." -- Sharks goalie Brian Boucher
"It feels great. That's what I work for every practice -- stop as many pucks as possible, and today I stopped them all," said Hiller, who made his 29th career appearance.

With starter Jean-Sebastien Giguere struggling over his last several games, the Ducks turned to Hiller on Sunday and he responded with their second straight shutout against the Kings this season -- Giguere blanked them 1-0 in Los Angeles on Nov. 4.

Hiller was clutch during a first period that saw the Ducks have to kill an interference penalty to Chris Pronger and then a double high-sticking minor against Ryan Getzlaf. Hiller stopped 14 shots in the opening 20 minutes to keep the game scoreless.

"It's a boost of confidence for everybody in the room when you give up zero," Perry said. "He stood on his head and he kept us in the game in the first period."

Perry then gave the Ducks a lead to work with by notching his sixth of the season with 8:24 left in the second period. Just seconds after a hooking penalty to the Kings' Alexander Frolov expired, Perry received a Getzlaf feed in the middle of the ice and left a drop pass for Kent Huskins. Perry headed to the net and converted the rebound of Huskins' wrist shot past goalie Erik Ersberg.

"It was a great pass by Getzy, I sent it back to Husky, and it was like maybe two feet outside the crease we were looking there," Perry said of the area from which he scored the goal.

Hedican, who last scored on Oct. 24, 2007 while playing for Carolina, made it 2-0 with 4:20 remaining in the third. Hedican's goal came off a one-timer from just inside the blue line after Chris Kunitz worked the puck free along the left boards.

Ersberg made 24 saves in his seventh straight start and the Kings lost in regulation for only the second time since he became their regular goalie.

"You can say, 'OK, we lost because we played bad,' but I think we're playing good hockey -- that's the frustrating part," forward Anze Kopitar said. "But we can't let down. We've got to play hard, compete every night, and I'm pretty sure the wins will come."

Material from wire services and team broadcast and online media was used in this report.





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