All-Stars help Sharks win

SAN JOSE -- The NHL All-Star break could have been a nice, four-day rest for the only NHL goalie to start every one of his team's games this season.

But the Sharks' Evgeni Nabokov and center Joe Thornton were named to the Western Conference All-Star team Thursday. So instead of hanging around the house, Nabokov will fly to Atlanta for the Jan. 27 event. That's fine with him.

"Four days to do nothing is pretty tough. I'd rather skate a little bit and have some fun," said Nabokov, who was tagged with the loss in the 2001 game when North America defeated the World 14-12.

After all, he added, "It's not like you're practicing hard or doing much."

Thornton, making his fifth All-Star appearance, said he's looking forward to it.

"I bring the parents and the buddies," he said. "I know my family and friends enjoy it so that makes it all the more special. You never know if it's going to be your last, so I enjoy it as much as I can."

The Sharks beat Vancouver 3-1 Thursday night for their sixth victory in seven games.

Jeremy Roenick and Milan Michalek scored power-play goals, Nabokov made 20 saves, and Thornton picked up three assists to avoid his first three-game scoring drought since late 2006.

San Jose has won all four of its meetings with the Canucks this season.

The clubs entered the game with 52 points apiece, tied for third place in the Western Conference. The win vaulted the Sharks back into a tie for first place with Dallas in the Pacific Division.

Roberto Luongo stopped 28 shots for Vancouver, and Ryan Kesler ended Nabokov's shutout bid with 7:35 to play.

Luongo and Nabokov would have been teammates at the All-Star game if Luongo hadn't decided to skip the game to be with his pregnant wife. Luongo was voted the West starter by the fans; Nabokov might replace him after being added to the team as a reserve.

KINGS 5, MAPLE LEAFS 2, at Los Angeles -- Dustin Brown scored twice on power plays as Los Angeles beat Toronto. L.A.'s Jason LaBarbera made 24 of his career-high 48 saves in the third period.

OILERS 5, COYOTES 2, at Edmonton, Alberta -- Robert Nilsson and Kyle Brodziak each had a goal and an assist to help Edmonton top Phoenix.

DEVILS 4, HURRICANES 1, at Raleigh, N.C. -- Patrik Elias scored the go-ahead goal in the second period as New Jersey beat Carolina.

FLYERS 6, RANGERS 2, at New York -- Scott Hartnell scored three consecutive goals to help Philadelphia stop New York.

PANTHERS 3, THRASHERS 2 (SO), at Atlanta -- Ilya Kovalchuk scored his league-leading 36th goal but fired wide in the shootout, allowing Olli Jokinen to give Florida the win.

PENGUINS 4, LIGHTNING 1, at Tampa, Fla. -- Jordan Staal had two goals and an assist as Pittsburgh won its eighth in a row.

CANADIENS 5, BRUINS 2, at Boston -- Alex Kovalev and Tomas Plekanec had a goal and an assist for Montreal, which is 5-0-2 over its last seven.

WILD 6, RED WINGS 5 (SO), at Detroit -- Martin Gaborik scored on the final attempt in a shootout, lifting Minnesota over Detroit.

SENATORS 3, SABRES 2 (SO), at Ottawa -- Dean McAmmond scored on Ottawa's sixth shootout attempt, and the Senators handed Buffalo its eighth consecutive loss.

BLUES 4, STARS 2, at St. Louis -- Brad Boyes scored twice for Dallas.