Sharks 4, Lightning 2

Monday, October 30th 2006, 6:40 am
By: News On 6

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ San Jose coach Ron Wilson joked that the NHL might be limiting the Sharks' power-play chances because they're so efficient with the man advantage.

``We have the best power play in the league, so maybe the memo's gone out and the referees are not going to give us power plays to see if we can figure out another way to win,'' Wilson said Sunday after the Sharks went 2-for-3 with the man advantage in a 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau scored power-play goals, Ryane Clowe added his first career NHL goal, Mike Grier had an empty-netter and Evgeni Nabokov made 18 saves. Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis had power-play goals for the Lightning.

In the only other NHL game Sunday, Colorado beat Minnesota 4-1.

Thornton scored at 4:02 of the first _ his first goals since last April _ on the Sharks' only power play during the first two periods.

``We were effective when we played in their end,'' Thornton said.

Clowe, who returned after missing six games because of a foot injury, made it 2-0 at 2:51 of the second. Grier set up the goal, beating Tampa Bay defenseman Doug Janik to the puck behind the net and passing it to Clowe.

``I really stopped thinking about it,'' said Clowe, whose first goal came in his 22nd career game. ``When you just go out and play, it will happen. That's what I tried to do this year. It's really special. It feels great.''

Lightning coach John Tortorella said Clowe's goal was the key.

``The one that bothers me, Clowe, he scores the second goal,'' Tortorella said. ``We're trying to keep Thornton and Marleau off the board, their lines, and get beat on really just a dump-in. It wasn't a lack of effort, we didn't get the job done.''

Grier completed the scoring with his empty-net goal with 1:21 left.

The Lightning, who entered the game tied for 23rd in the power-play rankings, had five consecutive man-advantage chances, but converted just one when Lecavalier cut the deficit to 2-1 with 3:52 left in the second.

Lecavalier has a goal in four straight games. Vinny Prospal picked up his 300th career assist on the goal.

After Marleau scored at 10:51 of the third, St. Louis pulled Tampa Bay to 3-2 with 6:58 to play. St. Louis has six goals in his last four games.

``We just couldn't get that one more big play,'' Tortorella said.

Avalanche 4, Wild 1

At Denver, Milan Hejduk had his second two-goal game of the week, Ian Laperriere scored his 100th NHL goal and Jose Theodore made 20 saves for Colorado.

Hejduk's second goal _ at 12:40 of the second period _ was the first power-play score the Wild have given up on the road this season. Minnesota, with the NHL's top penalty-killing unit, had killed 17 straight power-play chances on the road.

Tyler Arnason added a goal to help Colorado snap Minnesota's three-game winning streak. Pavol Demitra scored for Minnesota.