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San Jose Loses in Return Home

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Maybe San Jose should stay out on the road some more. The Sharks, who have played just 11 home games in the first nine weeks of the season, returned from a 3-1 trip Thursday night to open a stretch in which they play 12 of 15 games at the Shark Tank.

Although San Jose was 9-2 at home and hadn't lost there since Nov. 2, Joe Sakic and Brett Clark each had two goals and an assist to help the Colorado Avalanche snap out of a slump with a 5-2 victory over the Sharks.

``I've seen this before,'' Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. ``Your first game back after a fairly successful road trip, and your guys aren't ready to play. We were just completely out of sync. That was obvious.''

Clark had his first career two-goal game and Brett McLean also scored for the formerly last-place Avalanche, who had lost three of four. Jose Theodore, playing in San Jose for the first time, made 28 saves for his 150th career victory.

Colorado coach Joel Quenneville couldn't ask much more from his struggling club, which outworked San Jose in a 4-3 loss in the teams' first meeting in Denver last month.

``We got through some trouble and came out of it with a great effort,'' Quenneville said. ``We were real disappointed with the last game ... so this is a big win, huge game for us.''

In other NHL games, it was: Boston 3, Toronto 1; the New York Rangers 3, Pittsburgh 2 in a shootout; Detroit 4, St. Louis 3; Montreal 4, the New York Islanders 2; Tampa Bay 8, Atlanta 0; Florida 3, Buffalo 1; Minnesota 3, Calgary 2 in a shootout; Phoenix 2, Chicago 1 in a shootout; and Nashville 4, Los Angeles 1.

Vesa Toskala made 20 saves for San Jose, but lost for just the third time in 16 games this season. The five goals were the most allowed this season by Toskala, who entered the game with a 1.98 goals-against average.

``We needed this one,'' Sakic said. ``I thought right from the get-go, guys were hungry, were strong on the puck. You really have to be against that team, because they've got a great hockey club over there. We seemed to get the jump on them.''

Lightning 8, Thrashers 0

Vincent Lecavalier had three goals and two assists and Tampa Bay ended a four-game skid and snapped visiting Atlanta's five-game winning streak.

It was the fourth career hat trick for Lecavalier, who has scored goals in five straight games. Martin St. Louis added a goal and four assists, and he and Lecavalier set career highs with five points each.

Canadiens 4, Islanders 2

Saku Koivu scored two power-play goals to lead visiting Montreal.

Craig Rivet and Guillaume Latendresse also scored for the Canadiens, and Cristobal Huet stopped 25 shots for his 11th win.

The Islanders, who enjoyed a two-day stay atop the Atlantic Division, fell to third place, two points behind the Rangers and Devils.

Panthers 3, Sabres 1

Ric Jackman scored the winner and Alex Auld made 17 saves for host Florida.

Stephen Weiss and Olli Jokinen also scored for the Panthers, who won back-to-back games for just the second time this season. Florida hadn't won consecutive games since Oct. 11-13, when it beat Carolina and Tampa Bay.

Daniel Briere scored for Buffalo and Ryan Miller stopped 35 shots.

Red Wings 4, Blues 3

At Detroit, Pavel Datsyuk's goal 3:23 into overtime completed a comeback from a three-goal deficit.

Nicklas Lidstrom had a goal and an assist, and Jason Williams and Dan Cleary also scored for the Red Wings. Robert Lang and Mathieu Schneider each added two assists. Dominik Hasek made 18 saves.

Petr Cajanek scored twice and Dallas Drake also had a goal for St. Louis, which lost its sixth straight.

Rangers 3, Penguins 2, SO

At New York, Brendan Shanahan scored the tying goal in the third period and then added the only tally in the shootout.

The Rangers rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the third period when Blair Betts scored a short-handed goal and Shanahan followed with a power-play score less than 2 minutes later.

Henrik Lundqvist was perfect in the shootout, stopping Evgeni Malkin, Nils Ekman and Sidney Crosby.

Bruins 3, Maple Leafs 1

Brad Stuart, Wayne Primeau and Patrice Bergeron scored third-period goals and host Boston won for the fifth time in six games.

The Maple Leafs lost their sixth straight and blew a two-goal lead in the final period for the third straight game.

Tim Thomas had 23 saves for the Bruins.

Coyotes 2, Blackhawks 1, SO

At Chicago, Shane Doan and Michael Zigomanis scored in the shootout to lift Phoenix to its fourth win in five games.

Ed Jovanovski scored in regulation for the Coyotes, and Karl Stewart had a short-handed goal for Chicago.

Mikael Tellqvist had 30 saves for Phoenix.

Wild 3, Flames 2, SO

Manny Fernandez stopped two of three shots in the shootout for host Minnesota.

Brian Rolston and Mikko Koivu scored shootout goals after contributing power-play goals in regulation for the Wild, and Fernandez _ who made a season-high 38 saves _ denied Kristian Huselius on the final attempt to earn his second straight win after a miserable stretch.

The Wild have played a league-high nine shootouts, winning seven.

Predators 4, Kings 1

Scott Hartnell had a power-play goal and Jerred Smithson added a short-handed score for visiting Nashville.

Kimmo Timonen and rookie Alexander Radulov also scored on power plays and Martin Erat had a career-high three assists, helping the Predators end a three-game skid.

Goalie Chris Mason, making his seventh consecutive start for the injured Tomas Vokoun, stopped 20 shots.
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