Teemu Selanne used a little animal inspiration from his former team to secure an important win for his Anaheim Ducks.
Selanne scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period, and the Ducks padded their Pacific Division lead with a 3-2 victory over the frustrated Sharks on Monday night.
Ilya Bryzgalov made 40 saves in his first start since Feb. 7 as the Ducks moved seven points ahead of San Jose and Dallas by surviving two impressive periods by the Sharks, who had a prodigious 42-19 shot advantage _ including 18-2 in the third period _ and committed just one penalty all night.
Anaheim was tired after beating Colorado on Sunday night, but after San Jose missed several scoring chances in a flurry, Selanne waited and circled and finally pounced. Chris Kunitz and Selanne traded the puck on an end-to-end rush before Selanne barely tucked home his 38th goal of the season with 11:41 left.
"I'm not a Shark any more," said Selanne, a fan favorite during his 2 1/2 seasons in teal. "I learn from the real sharks now."
In other games, it was Atlanta 3, Boston 2; Montreal 5, Toronto 4; and Calgary 5, Phoenix 2.
Though Selanne starred, the Ducks were most excited about Bryzgalov's heroics in his first victory since Jan. 11. Jean-Sebastien Giguere started the Ducks' last eight games, but Bryzgalov thrived in the surprise assignment from coach Randy Carlyle.
"It was the best game I've played all year," Bryzgalov said. "I was playing and laughing out there. I wasn't nervous. They kept trying to come down and pressure me, but we were able to defend it."
Dustin Penner scored two goals in the first period for Anaheim, and Milan Michalek replied with two goals in the second period for San Jose.
The Ducks survived nearly four minutes of short-handed play early in the third, including a two-man disadvantage for 17 seconds. San Jose had several additional chances in the final minutes, including an unobstructed shot by captain Patrick Marleau that hit Bryzgalov squarely in the chest.
"The only chance those guys had in the last two periods, and they score," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "We played really well. Their goaltender played great, and that's the difference in the hockey game. To outshoot a team like that and dominate territorial play, and then we make a mistake, and it ends up in the net _ I don't know what to say."
Evgeni Nabokov stopped 16 shots for the weary Sharks, who returned early Sunday morning from an eight-game road trip. San Jose, which has lost four of six, must face NHL-leading Nashville before heading out on another three-game trip.
The Sharks also lost defenseman Scott Hannan in the first period when he couldn't play through an undisclosed injury from the road trip.
Joe Thornton had two assists for the Sharks, and Ryan Getzlaf had two for Anaheim. Penner's goals were the 20th and 21st of his first full NHL season to set a franchise record for rookies, while Michalek matched his career high from last season with his 17th goal.
"We had a lot of chances, but we couldn't score," Michalek said. "They played last night, so we wanted to wear them down, but we couldn't put it in at the very end."
San Jose still hopes to have new defenseman Craig Rivet in the lineup for Wednesday's game against Nashville, if immigration issues can be resolved. The Sharks acquired the 11-year veteran from Montreal on Sunday for defenseman Josh Gorges and a first-round pick.
Thrashers 3, Bruins 2
At Boston, Marian Hossa scored the winner and Alexei Zhitnik had an assist in his Atlanta debut. Eric Belanger had a goal and an assist and Scott Mellanby also scored for the Thrashers, who set a franchise record with their 18th road victory.
Shean Donovan and Brad Boyes each scored for Boston, which lost its second straight following a four-game winning streak.
Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 4
Sheldon Souray scored his tea-leading 22nd goal and host Montreal got three power-play goals.
Saku Koivu and Michael Ryder assisted on each other's power-play scores, Tomas Plekanec and Mike Johnson scored at even strength, and David Aebischer made 32 saves to help Montreal move up to seventh in the Eastern Conference with 72 points.
Bates Battaglia, Bryan McCabe, Jeremy Williams and Alex Steen scored for Toronto.
Flames 5, Coyotes 2
At Calgary, Alberta, Wayne Primeau scored his first two goals since coming to the Flames earlier this month. David Moss, Kristian Huselius and Andrei Zyuzin also scored for Calgary, which moved into a tie with Minnesota for second place in the Northwest Division.
Yanic Perreault and Steven Reinprecht scored for Phoenix, which lost for the seventh time in eight games.
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