Ryane Clowe scored a late winner using a teammate's stick as the San Jose Sharks beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on Monday for their ninth away win in a row. The Western Conference-leading Sharks (39-11-9) moved within one more road triumph of tying a franchise record and within a point of the Washington Capitals for the top spot in the NHL.
Clowe got the decisive goal, his only score of the game, at 13.21 in the third period using a stick borrowed from Dany Heatley. "I guess it goes to show, it's not the player, it's the stick," joked Clowe, who has scored 15 goals this season to Heatley's 32. "I didn't think there was any goals left in it, but there was one left. I'm going to have to hold on to that one." Evgeni Nabokov, the goaltender, played a valuable role with 32 saves, although he could not stop Toronto's Phil Kessel from tying the game on a snap shot with 51 seconds left in the second period.
"Obviously we weren't very good in the first period, we were in sand, clearly outworked," said the Sharks' coach Todd McLellan. "I tried to spark the team somehow by shuffling lines, trying some different things. "I'm not even sure that worked until the third period, but we found a way to win. It wasn't our best effort by any means." Toronto played shorthanded with Christian Hanson and Fredrik Sjostrom both sidelined through illness. The Leafs were forced to promote 19-year-old forward Nazem Kadri, the seventh pick in the 2009 entry draft.
"He skated well," said the Leafs' coach, Ron Wilson. "This was a great opportunity for him, to see what the NHL is all about. He had a lot of turnovers. "Things he can probably get away with in junior hockey, you can't get away with in our league, let alone against a top team in the league." Elsewhere, Corey Perry had a goal and two assists as the Anaheim Ducks snapped the Los Angeles Kings' franchise-record nine-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory.
Jonas Hiller made 35 saves while Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu had a goal and an assist apiece for the Ducks, who tied a franchise record of their own with their 10th consecutive home win. However, Anaheim lost their Canadian Olympian Ryan Getzlaf with a sprained left ankle in the second period. "When you have everyone going and then lose a guy, it's tough," said Perry, who has also been selected for Team Canada at the Winter Olympics, which start on Friday.
"I mean, you can't really replace a guy like that because he's got tremendous skill and he's a big body and he's a great player. "So it's hard to replace him, but there's guys who can step up and fill his role." The New Jersey Devils' defencemen Anssi Salmela was taken off the ice on a stretcher during his team's 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. Moments after scoring a short-handed goal that gave the Devils a 2-0 lead, Salmela was struck hard by Jeff Carter's right shoulder as he skated by.
Salmela tumbled to the ice and remained face down for several minutes.
"I didn't see it coming," he said, adding that he lost consciousness for a few moments.
"It's no big deal. It's just hockey. I'm getting better now. Just a bit of a headache."
* With agencies