The San Jose netminder Evgeni Nabokov stopped 27 shots for his 49th career shutout as the Sharks crushed the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-0 in an early season clash of NHL division leaders on Saturday. Joe Pavelski, returning from a broken foot, joined Dan Boyle and Manny Malhotra as each delivered a goal and an assist to help the Pacific Division-leading Sharks remain unbeaten in five regulation games at home this season.
The San Jose coach Todd McLellen said of Pavelski's return: "He means so much to our team, a very intelligent player. He brings a calmness to the ice." Jamie McGinn and Dany Heatley also scored for San Jose. Pittsburgh, the Atlantic Division's top team and defending Stanley Cup champions, lost away for only the second time in nine games. McGinn and Pavelski, the latter on a power play, gave San Jose a 2-0 first-period lead. Boyle and Heatley made it 4-0 in the second with Heatley netting his 11th goal of the season. Malhotra scored on another power play in the third.
Elsewhere in the NHL, the New Jersey Devils made it eight away wins in a row at the start of the NHL season as they beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Goals from Zach Parise, David Clarkson and Andy Greene proved sufficient to defeat their hosts, who replied with scores by Milan Michalek and Brian Lee. The Carolina Hurricanes led the Columbus Blue Jackets heading into the third period but conceded three goals inside three minutes and went on to lose 3-2, a dismal 12th consecutive defeat for the Hurricanes.
Erik Cole had fired Carolina ahead in the first period, but strikes from Nikita Filatov, Jared Boll and Rick Nash meant a late goal from Tim Gleason was just a consolation. The Nashville Predators defeated the Los Angeles Kings 3-1, while the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Montreal Canadiens by the same margin. The Washington Capitals beat the Florida Panthers 7-4, helped by two goals from Tomas Fleischmann, while the Toronto Maple Leafs were comfortably in control against the Detroit Red Wings, winning 5-1.
Also winning were the Boston Bruins, 4-2 against the Buffalo Sabres, and the Philadelphia Flyers, who beat the St Louis Blues 2-1 after a shoot out. The New York Islanders got off to a good start, scoring three times in the first period on their way to a 6-3 win against the Atlanta Thrashers, while the Minnesota Wild edged the Dallas Stars 3-2, the Anaheim Ducks beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4-3 and the Calgary Flames defeated the New York Rangers 3-1.
* With agencies