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Sharks keep rolling, beat Predators 4-3

by Brian Compton /
Dan Boyle's goal with 60 seconds remaining capped a third-period rally and Thomas Greiss (23 saves) made the most of a rare start as San Jose skated past Nashville at HP Pavilion.

San Jose improved to 8-0-1 in its last nine games and is 6-0-1 at home. With a 13-4-2 record and 28 points, the Sharks own the best record in the NHL.

"I thought tonight, he was by far our best defenseman," San Jose coach Todd McLellan said of Boyle. "That was a real good thing for us, because we obviously needed him. I think he's feeling more comfortable on the ice, picking his spots a little bit better. We've done a lot of good things lately as a team."

Devin Setoguchi returned from a seven-game absence and erased a 3-2 deficit with 6:34 to play, when he took a pass from Boyle and fired a laser past Dan Ellis for his eighth goal of the season. Boyle then won it for the Sharks when his wrister from the right circle managed to squeak through the skates of Ellis.

"I just shot the puck at the net … I really wasn't trying to score," Boyle said. "Sometimes you get lucky and it squeaks through."

Joe Pavelski put the Sharks in front 10:01 into the game, finishing off a perfect backhand pass from Patrick Marleau by beating Ellis with a quick one-timer from the lower left circle. The lead lasted only until 18:20, when rookie Michael Santorelli got his stick on a loose puck and nudged in into the net for his second of the season.

"After the first, we weren't very happy," Boyle said. "We had a lot of turnovers in the first, but we knew we could win it down the stretch. We fought hard the last half of that third period."

The Sharks went back in front 2:33 into the second period when Jamie McGinn was in the right place at the right time. The rookie forward picked up a deflected pass in the right circle and lifted a quick 10-footer past Ellis. But the Predators got even at 14:49 when ex-Shark Marcel Goc beat Greiss with a wrist shot from the lower left circle.

Patric Hornqvist's tip-in of Dan Hamhuis' shot at 9:29 of the third period gave Nashville its first lead. But the Sharks rallied, beginning with Setoguchi's tally at 13:26.

"We didn't play the game we wanted to play, obviously," Setoguchi said. "I guess that's what we kind of needed to wake up. We just needed them to score to wake us up there early in the third."

Greiss preserved the tie with 2:59 remaining when he robbed Hornqvist, who was wide-open in front of the net.

"A team like that finds ways to win," Nashville forward Steve Sullivan said. "We thought we were the better team. We deserved better. We think that we really carried the play for most of the 60 minutes. We didn't give them very many opportunities to score.

"We're not going to hang our heads. We're not happy with the results, but we have to move on. We have to take the positives out of this game, which was that we thought we were the better hockey club."

Wild 5, Maple Leafs 2 | HIGHLIGHTS

So much for the Toronto Maple Leafs' winning streak.

Mikko Koivu had a goal and two assists in the second period and Niklas Backstrom made 37 saves as the Minnesota Wild put an end to Toronto's winning ways with a 5-2 victory at the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday night. It was the Wild's first win in Toronto since joining the NHL in 2000-01.

"We were an opportunistic group," Wild coach Todd Richards said after watching his team go 2-for-4 with the man advantage. "You get on the power play, especially a 5-on-3, you have to score and we were able to score."

Alexei Ponikarovsky and Phil Kessel had goals for the Maple Leafs (3-8-5), who were 3-0-4 in their last seven. Toronto was coming off its best game of the season, a 5-1 home victory against Detroit on Saturday.
"We seem to struggle when it's not a Saturday night game at home," Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. "Emotionally, we came out a little flat. We were just content to move along.
"We're not good enough to get full of ourselves after we've had a couple of good weeks. I was a little disappointed in our approach, but more teaching tools for me."

Marek Zidlicky broke a 1-1 tie at 5:44 of the period. Koivu gave the Wild a two-goal lead at 17:29 before Greg Zanon busted the game open only 26 seconds later.

"It's not acceptable and we know that in this dressing room," Toronto forward Matt Stajan said. "We didn't play a full 60 minutes, and at times we looked really flat. We can't play like that in our own building. We've got to learn from this because these are costly points. Just as we're starting to creep back in past a few teams, it would have been a big two points for us."

Minnesota iced the victory in a 3-on-6 situation. With two players in the penalty box, Owen Nolan scored into an empty net with 3 seconds remaining to seal the victory.

"You don't see that too often," Backstrom said after earning his 100th NHL win. "You can't worry too much. Try to enjoy it. ... I think our three did a good job there."

Leafs defenseman Mike Komisarek left the game with a lower-body injury after taking just 2:47 of ice time. His status is unknown.

Blues 6, Canucks 1 | HIGHLIGHTS

David Perron scored twice during a four-goal first period en route to a hat trick as St. Louis routed Vancouver at the Scottrade Center, gaining at least a small measure of payback for the Canucks' first-round playoff sweep last spring.

The Blues, who were 1-5-1 in their first seven home games, scored four times in the first 7:36. Brad Boyes had a goal and three assists and Andy McDonald added a goal and two assists in his 500th NHL game to lead the Blues, who had scored only two goals in their previous four games in St. Louis. Chris Mason made 22 saves for the win.

"We hadn't played real well at home," Boyes said. "It was a tough building to play in last year. We've got to get that way again. This was a good way to get going."

Andrew Raycroft, who entered with a 4-1 record and a 1.60 goals-against average while captain Roberto Luongo was injured, allowed four goals on 13 shots before being replaced after the first period. Luongo then made his first appearance since Oct. 27, when he suffered a broken rib, and allowed two goals on 17 shots in 40 minutes. Henrik Sedin scored Vancouver's lone goal in the third period.

"They beat us to loose pucks, they were the better team 1-on-1 and they had better chances," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "They played real well. That team came out real hard. Their execution was real good and they took it to us real hard in the first period. They had some quality chances and they buried them."

Erik Johnson, who missed last season due to a knee injury, scored his first goal since March 28, 2008, when his feed into the slot deflected into the net off the skate of Canucks winger Matt Pettinger at 6:53.

"We wanted to be good early, and that was the message," Blues coach Andy Murray said. "Tonight, we were good early."

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

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