The San Jose Sharks still have a slight edge over the Detroit Red Wings.
Joe Thornton scored twice and Antti Niemi made 30 saves in San Jose’s 4-2 win in Detroit last night.
San Jose has eliminated Detroit in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs the past two seasons. It was a seven-game set last spring in which the Red Wings rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to force a decisive Game 7. Six of the seven games in that were decided by one goal and only Thornton’s empty-netter in the final minute prevented last night’s contest from being another one-goal affair.
“Every game against them seems to be a one-goal game,’’ Thornton said. “These are two good, competitive teams, and it’s become a pretty good rivalry the last couple of years.’’
Patrick Marleau had a goal and an assist and Ryane Clowe also scored for San Jose, which won its fourth straight.
Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom scored for Detroit, which has lost three in a row. Nicklas Lidstrom had two assists and Jimmy Howard made 26 saves.
Thornton’s breakaway goal with 1:42 left in the second period snapped a 2-2 tie. The San Jose star beat Howard between the pads for his second goal after taking a pass from Joe Pavelski.
Hurricanes 3, Blackhawks 0 - Cam Ward made 30 saves in his first shutout of the season and Carolina snapped a three-game losing streak by shutting out Chicago in Raleigh, N.C.
Tim Brent scored on a deflection and Brandon Sutter and Jiri Tlusty added third-period goals for the Hurricanes, who claimed their first win since Oct. 18 against the Bruins.
Corey Crawford stopped 30 shots for the Blackhawks, who were beaten in regulation for the first time since opening night.
Chicago was shut out for the first time this season and remained winless at the RBC Center, which opened in 1999.
Oilers 3, Avalanche 1 - Devan Dubnyk had a season-high 40 saves and defensemen Cam Barker and Andy Sutton each scored their first goals of the season to lead Edmonton at Denver.
Ryan Smyth added a goal and two assists to help Edmonton win its fourth straight.
Ryan O’Reilly scored for Colorado, which leads the league with six road wins but fell to 0-3 at home despite having a season-high 41 shots.
In a taut defensive game, Barker broke through for the game’s first score at 7:55 of the second period. With Edmonton on the power play, Barker took a pass from center Sam Gagner and skated across the crease before backhanding a shot past Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov.
Flames 3, Blues 1 - Roman Horak had a goal and an assist and Miikka Kiprusoff made 28 saves as host Calgary topped St. Louis.
Tom Kostopoulos and Olli Jokinen also scored for Calgary, which improved to 3-1-1 on its six-game homestand. Horak, a 20-year-old rookie, had 2 points for the second straight game after getting his first career goal against Colorado Wednesday night.
Alex Steen scored his sixth of the year for St. Louis, which snapped a three-game winning streak.