Sharks Celebrate Thornton’s 1000th Game With Win
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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Michal Handzus and Ryane Clowe scored shootout goals and the San Jose Sharks celebrated captain Joe Thornton’s 1,000th NHL game with a 4-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.
Thornton had a goal and set up Joe Pavelski’s tying tally with 32.4 seconds left in regulation to help the Sharks snap a three-game losing streak and end the Devils’ three-game winning streak. Clowe also scored in regulation for San Jose.
Zach Parise scored on a second-period penalty shot, and Patrik Elias and David Clarkson had the other goals for New Jersey, which got a 38-save performance from Johan Hedberg.
Ilya Kovalchuk put the Devils ahead in the shootout, beating Antii Niemi with a slick backhander on the first try.
After Pavelski missed the net with his chance, Niemi stopped Parise’s backhander, which was the same type of shot the New Jersey captain used on the penalty shot.
Handzus tied the shootout with a shot off the goalpost that caromed off Hedberg’s leg and into the net.
Niemi stopped Elias with a pad save and Clowe won the game by deking Hedberg and sliding the puck into the net.
Pavelski forced the overtime by taking a pass from Thornton in the left circle and beating a screened Hedberg with 32.4 seconds left in regulation.
The Devils appeared headed for a victory in regulation when Clarkson scored all alone in front off a nice setup by Mattias Tedenby with 6:42 to play. Clarkson got past former teammates Colin White, who was playing his first game against the Devils, and beat a defenseless Niemi, who only faced 19 shots.
However, the Sharks pulled Niemi with just under a minute to play and Thornton set up Pavelski’s third goal of the season.
The Sharks outshot their opponents 110-65 in losing their last three and the trend continued for much of the first two periods against New Jersey.
Despite being badly outshot, the Devils opened a 2-0 lead early in the second period.
Elias put New Jersey on the board, taking a cross-ice pass from Kovalchuk on a power play and patiently waiting for Niemi to go down before beating the goaltender up high.
Parise made it 2-0 in the opening minute of the second period with his first goal on a penalty shot.
Killing off a penalty, Parise was taken down by defenseman Brent Burns on a break. The left wing skated slowly in from center ice and backhanded a shot under Niemi’s pads.
Hedberg made the lead stand up for almost two periods, stopping 20-plus shots, including a great close in chance by Patrick Marleau.
Thornton, who became the 266th NHL player to reach the 1,000-game plateau, broke the ice for the Sharks with what was a bad goal on Hedberg’s part. The Sharks captain took a shot from the top of the right circle that the Devils goaltender simply misplayed into Thornton’s first goal of the season.
Clowe tied it 1:03 later on a goalmouth scramble. Hedberg stopped Logan Couture in close, but in the scramble the puck hit off the back of Clowe’s skate and slid into the net.
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