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Sundin finds home in Vancouver; Sharks fall again

NHL.com @NHL

The Vancouver Canucks secured the biggest win on a very busy NHL day without even lacing up a skate.

After months of endless speculation, Mats Sundin agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the idle Canucks on Thursday.

Sundin, the longtime captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the prized free-agent forward on the market since July, picked the Canucks after spending the better part of the week trying to decide between Vancouver and the New York Rangers.

Both clubs feature comparable talent and a chance to make a deep run in the playoffs. What might have tipped the scales was the space the Canucks had under the salary cap, which turned into a more lucrative offer than the Rangers could make without reshaping their roster.

Financial terms weren't immediately available, but Sundin had been offered a two-year deal in the summer by the Canucks worth $20 million.

"I am truly excited to be joining the Canucks," the 37-year-old said. "Once I made the decision to return to play a few weeks ago, the Vancouver opportunity was simply the best overall fit."

Canucks general manager Mike Gillis confirmed that the deal was for only one season and said there had been changes made to the original offer. Sundin earned $5.5 million with Toronto last season.

"From Day One it was totally about the team," Gillis said. "Money was always secondary. When it came down to the final decision, the resolution of how we are going to do this, it was about the team."

On the NHL ice Thursday night, it was: Carolina 2, Florida 1 in overtime; Boston 8, Toronto 5; Washington 4, St. Louis 2; Pittsburgh 6, Atlanta 3; Montreal 5, Philadelphia 2; Detroit 6, San Jose 0; Colorado 2, Tampa Bay 1 in a shootout; Dallas 6, Columbus 5 in a shootout; and Phoenix 2, Nashville 1.

In Detroit, the Sharks, who fell 2-1 in overtime at Columbus Wednesday, dropped their second straight on consecutive nights, getting steamrolled 6-0 by the defending Stanley Cup champion Red Wings.

San Jose (25-4-3) still has the best record in the NHL, but they didn't measure up to the Red Wings (21-6-4), second to the Sharks in the Western Conference.

"Just flat out they were better in every situation," said Sharks coach Todd McLellan, who was an assistant with Detroit the previous three seasons. "We can come down off of our perch and everybody can look at each other and realize that we've still got some work to do."

Ty Conklin made 24 saves for his sixth NHL shutout and Pavel Datsyuk had two goals and two assists for the Red Wings. Marian Hossa had a goal and an assist and Johan Franzen, Valtteri Filppula and Brad Stuart also scored.

"So far, it's our first real good game. I think, so far, it's our best game," Datsyuk said. "Now we just need to keep going, keep going, grind like that, play our game."

Even with this slide, the Sharks are on pace to challenge Detroit's NHL record of 62 wins in a season in 1995-96 and the Montreal Canadiens' mark of 132 points in 1976-77.

Evgeni Nabokov stopped 22 shots for San Jose, playing its third in four nights.

"That's just an excuse," forward Ryane Clowe said. "Just embarrassing to play these guys ... like we're happy with ourselves."

At Boston, David Krejci had his first NHL hat trick and Phil Kessel scored twice to extend his point streak to an NHL-high 16 games for the Bruins.

Marco Sturm, Marc Savard and Michael Ryder also scored as Boston won its 12th consecutive home game and 12th in 14 overall.

At Washington, Viktor Kozlov had two goals and an assist, and the Capitals extended their winning streak to five.

Tomas Fleischmann and Alex Ovechkin also scored for the Capitals, who have won seven of eight and improved to 13-1-1 at home. Simeon Varlamov made 29 saves.

David Backes and Brad Winchester scored for the Blues, who have dropped five straight.

At Montreal, Alex Kovalev scored to reach 900 NHL points, and Sergei Kostitsyn and Steve Begin each had a goal and an assist to help the Canadiens snap Philadelphia's five-game winning streak.

Kovalev scored for the second game in a row after a 19-game goal drought.

Arron Asham scored and assisted on Braydon Coburn's goal in the third for the Flyers.

At Raleigh, N.C., Joe Corvo scored with 43.3 seconds left in overtime to lift Carolina. Justin Williams scored his first goal in nearly 13 months for the Hurricanes, who have won 15 of 16 at home against the Panthers.

At Atlanta, Evgeni Malkin had two goals and two assists and Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves in his return to the Pittsburgh lineup.

The Penguins had lost four of five and were 5-6-2 since Fleury last played on Nov. 15.

At Tampa, Fla., Colorado's Milan Hejduk was awarded the lone goal in a shootout when Tampa Bay goalie Mike Smith was penalized for throwing his stick.

Paul Stastny scored for the Avalanche in regulation and Andrew Raycroft stopped 37 shots.

Jeff Halpern, playing in his first game of the season after being sidelined by a knee injury, scored for Tampa Bay.

At Glendale, Ariz., Kyle Turris had his first two-goal game, including the go-ahead score with 9:58 left for the Coyotes, who snapped a two-game losing streak.

Vernon Fiddler scored the lone goal for the Predators, who lost their fourth in five games.

At Dallas, Loui Eriksson's first NHL hat trick got the Stars into overtime, and Brad Richards and Mike Ribeiro won it in the shootout.

Richards added a goal and three assists and James Neal had a power-play goal for the Stars.

The Blue Jackets thought they netted the winning goal 13 seconds into overtime on Manny Malhotra's apparent goal, but after a video review, officials ruled the puck was kicked into the net.

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