SAN JOSE, Calif. – Joe Pavelski had a goal and two assists, Joe Thornton added another timely goal, and the San Jose Sharks won back-to-back games for just the second time in nearly four weeks, beating the Dallas Stars 5-2 Saturday.

Evgeni Nabokov made 23 saves, and Devin Setoguchi had a goal and an assist as the Sharks pulled within one point of Detroit for the overall NHL lead with their fifth win in six meetings with the Stars, who knocked them out of the playoffs in the second round last spring. Milan Michalek also scored, and captain Patrick Marleau added an empty-netter.

Loui Eriksson scored his 33rd goal for the Stars, who went winless on their three-game road trip. Stephane Robidas also scored, but Marty Turco wasn’t sharp while making 25 saves for Dallas, which is running out of time to make a playoff push with just 10 regular-season games to go.

The Stars are in a three-way tie for 10th place in the Western Conference, but a 4-10-1 slump has them in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

San Jose avenged the Stars’ 4-1 victory at the Shark Tank earlier this month with a comprehensive effort highlighted by two sequences of rapid-fire goals. Thornton and Setoguchi scored 29 seconds apart in the first period before Pavelski and Michalek got their goals 19 seconds apart in the second.

San Jose’s performance in a rare Shark Tank matinee wasn’t all positive. Defenseman Rob Blake left midway through the second period without explanation, and center Marcel Goc didn’t return after what appeared to be a serious leg injury in the third.

Rangers 5, Sabres 3

NEW YORK – Former Buffalo captain Chris Drury scored during New York’s three-goal second period that carried the Rangers to a 5-3 victory over the sliding Sabres.

Ryan Callahan and Nikolai Zherdev added goals in the decisive middle frame after Markus Naslund staked the Rangers to a 1-0 lead in the first. New York won its third straight and moved eight points ahead of 10th-place Buffalo, which is falling out of the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Henrik Lundqvist made 37 saves, and Callahan sealed the win by scoring an empty-netter with 24.8 seconds left.

Patrick Lalime allowed four goals on 19 shots and was replaced by Mikael Tellqvist at the start of the third. Including Buffalo’s 6-4 home loss to Philadelphia on Friday, Lalime gave up 10 goals on 50 shots in a 24-hour span.

Leafs 5, Canadiens 2

MONTREAL – Alexei Ponikarovsky had two goals and two assists and the Toronto Maple Leafs took a four-goal lead before going on to beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-2.

Ponikarovsky’s line combined for 11 points. Mikhail Grabovski had a goal and three assists – including one on Jason Blake’s 25th goal in the third – and Nikolai Kulemin had a goal and two assists.

Toronto led 4-0 following Ponikarovsky’s second goal in 6 minutes 9:09 into the second period.

Maxim Lapierre scored two straight goals 2:32 apart to draw Montreal to 4-2 at 15:22.

The Canadiens, booed by the sellout crowd of 21,273 moments earlier, came close to making it a one-goal game before the end of the period with a number of good scoring chances, particularly a deflection by Saku Koivu that struck the right post during a power play.

Martin Gerber stopped 26 shots for Toronto, which has won four of six.

Hurricanes 4, Capitals 1

RALEIGH, N.C. – Cam Ward made 31 saves, and Rod Brind’Amour and defensemen Joni Pitkanen, Anton Babchuk and Joe Corvo scored goals in the Carolina Hurricanes’ 4-1 victory over the Washington Capitals 4-1.

Carolina extended its home winning streak to eight games, the Hurricanes’ longest home streak since their Stanley Cup championship season in 2005-06. Carolina beat the Southeast Division-leading Capitals for the third time this season.

Mike Green scored for Washington. He leads NHL defensemen with 28 goals.

Brind’Amour opened the scoring at 3:53 of the second period, beating Jose Theodore with a low shot from the slot. Brind’Amour has goals in five of his last eight games.

Green tied the it with 33 seconds left in the second period when he collected a lively rebound in the center of the right circle and beat Ward, who was unable to get back across the crease to defend Green’s quick release.

The Hurricanes got the winner from Pitkanen 4:42 into the third period just after killing off Brind’Amour’s hooking penalty. Pitkanen took a pass from Eric Staal as he skated in front of the crease and flipped it in with a backhander.

Blue Jackets 3, Panthers 1

SUNRISE, Fla. – Raffi Torres scored twice late in the third period to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 3-1 victory over the Florida Panthers.

Torres scored his first goal of the night with 2:46 remaining in the third. He tied it at 1 and ruined Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun’s bid for his seventh shutout of the season.

Then with just 1:33 left, Torres scored on a wrist shot to put Columbus up 2-1. Antoine Vermette added an empty-net goal with 19 seconds left.

Rostislav Olesz scored his first goal since Nov. 1 for Florida, which lost for the fifth time in six games.

Steve Mason made 22 saves for the Blue Jackets, playing in South Florida for the first time since a 5-4 overtime win over the Panthers on Jan. 14, 2006.

Senators 5, Islanders 2

OTTAWA – Chris Neil, Filip Kuba, Mike Fisher, Dany Heatley and Nick Foligno scored to help the Ottawa Senators win their seventh straight home game, 5-2 over the New York Islanders.

Brian Elliott made 20 saves, and Daniel Alfredsson and Brendan Bell had three assists each for Ottawa. The Senators improved to 31-30-10, the first time they’ve been above .500 since Nov. 6.

Josh Bailey scored twice in the third period for New York.

Ottawa scored four second-period goals.

Neil opened the scoring 28 seconds into the period with a shot from the slot that barely crossed the line after goalie Yann Danis got a piece of the puck.


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