Sports

Sharks just where they want to be after slow start

San Jose's STeve Bernier (26) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Vancouver on Thursday.  The Sharks wins in 5-2
San Jose's STeve Bernier (26) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Vancouver on Thursday. The Sharks wins in 5-2 AP

If anybody still doubts the San Jose Sharks after their painfully slow start at home, coach Ron Wilson wishes to refer them to the standings.

"We're second in the Western Conference, and that's all that really matters," Wilson said Thursday night.

"We are where we are where we are. We keep playing like this going forward, and we don't have to worry about what our record was at home in the first two months of the regular season."

Joe Thornton had a goal and an assist, Evgeni Nabokov made 15 saves and the Sharks beat Vancouver 5-2 for their sixth victory in seven games, using their speed on two early goals and capitalizing on the Canucks' mistakes for the final two tallies.

Milan Michalek, Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski scored for the Sharks, who won consecutive home games for just the second time all season to stay in a first-place tie with Dallas in the Pacific Division, passing Vancouver for second place in the conference standings.

Despite a strong road record, San Jose won just five of its first 13 games at home, among the league's worst marks. Those woes appear to be fading, with the Sharks getting at least one point from six of their last eight games at the Shark Tank.

"It feels good we got some wins at home, and it's going to continue like that," Michalek said. "We were talking about it before the game, (how) we had to come out hard on them because they played the night before."

Henrik Sedin and Trevor Linden scored third-period goals for the road-weary Canucks to trim San Jose's three-goal lead. Vancouver, which beat Anaheim on Wednesday night, then made two glaring turnovers that turned into goals for Thornton and Steve Bernier, sealing Nabokov's league-leading 17th victory.

Nabokov has started each of the Sharks' 30 games this season, and the veteran has rarely been better. He picked up his league-leading 17th victory and barely missed his 39th career shutout while keeping his goals-against average at 2.00, the second-best mark in the NHL behind Detroit's Chris Osgood.

  • DEVILS 3, BRUINS 1, at Boston -- Jamie Langenbrunner scored twice to help New Jersey defeat Boston in a game played in front of about only 1,500 people due to a major snowstorm.
  • ISLANDERS 3, COYOTES 2, at Uniondale, N.Y. -- Bill Guerin snapped a scoreless tie in the second period and added a goal in the third to lift New York over Phoenix in a matchup of the NHL's lowest-scoring teams.
  • CANADIENS 4, FLYERS 1, at Philadelphia -- Mark Streit scored two goals to guide Montreal past Philadelphia.
  • SENATORS 4, PENGUINS 1, at Pittsburgh -- Dany Heatley scored two goals for the second night in a row, and Jason Spezza also scored twice as Ottawa beat Pittsburgh for its fourth win in a row.
  • FLAMES 9, LIGHTNING 6, at Tampa, Fla. -- Jarome Iginla and Kristian Huselius each had three goals in Calgary's win over Tampa Bay. Iginla scored all his goals in the third period, giving him six career hat tricks. Huselius' hat trick was the first of his career.
  • OILERS 4, RED WINGS 3 (SO), at Detroit -- Ales Hemsky scored the only goal of the shootout, and Edmonton snapped Detroit's seven-game winning streak.
  • STARS 4, KINGS 1, at Dallas -- Mike Ribeiro had two goals and two assists to help Dallas maintain its dominance over Los Angeles. The Stars are 11-1-1 in their last 13 meetings with the Kings.
  • PANTHERS 1, BLUES 0, at St. Louis -- Goalie Tomas Vokoun stopped 33 shots to record his 24th career shutout in Florida's win over St. Louis.
  • AVALANCHE 2, PREDATORS 1, at Nashville, Tenn. -- Ryan Smyth and Ian Laperriere scored third-period goals to lift Colorado over Nashville.
  •   Comments