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Sharks oust Red Wings; Pens edge Habs; Stamkos helps Canada win at worlds

SUPER SAVER: The Penguins’ Marc-Andre Fleury makes a save on Glen Metropolit, one of his 32 in a 2-1 win over the Canadiens.

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SUPER SAVER: The Penguins’ Marc-Andre Fleury makes a save on Glen Metropolit, one of his 32 in a 2-1 win over the Canadiens.

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Patrick Marleau scored the tiebreaking goal 6:59 into the third period and the Sharks eliminated the two-time defending Western Conference champion Red Wings from the playoffs with a 2-1 victory Saturday in Game 5 of their semifinal series.

Joe Thornton scored the first goal for San Jose and then set up Marleau's tally with a pass from behind the net to help the Sharks advance to the conference final for the second time in franchise history.

Marleau and goalie Evgeni Nabokov are the only two players left from the 2004 team that lost to Calgary in six games, and both came up big in the series clincher against the Red Wings.

Nabokov survived a blitz late in the second period to keep it tied at 1. Marleau then came through with his second winning goal of the series when Thornton found him all alone in the slot and he beat Jimmy Howard.

Sharks 0 1 1 2
Red Wings 0 1 0 1
Sharks win series 4-1
Sharks 0 1 1 2
Red Wings 0 1 0 1
Sharks win series 4-1

First PeriodNone. PenaltiesFranzen, Det (interference), 12:42; Franzen, Det (hooking), 18:27.

Second Period1, Detroit, Rafalski 3 (Franzen, Bertuzzi), 2:40. 2, San Jose, Thornton 3 (Heatley, Demers), 4:54 (pp). PenaltiesStuart, Det (elbowing), 4:47; Pavelski, SJ (hooking), 5:32; Bertuzzi, Det (holding), 7:36; Boyle, SJ (tripping), 12:11; Vlasic, SJ (kneeing), 16:01.

Third Period3, San Jose, Marleau 3 (Thornton), 6:59. PenaltiesBoyle, SJ (holding), 19:07. Missed Penalty ShotPavelski, SJ, 3:12 third. Shots on GoalDetroit 6-14-14—34. San Jose 15-3-14—32. Power-play opportunitiesDetroit 0 of 4; San Jose 1 of 4. GoaliesDetroit, Howard 5-7-0 (32 shots-30 saves). San Jose, Nabokov 8-3-0 (34-33). A17,562 (17,496).

Fleury, Penguins push Habs to brink of exit

PITTSBURGH — Marc-Andre Fleury made 32 saves, Kris Letang scored on a power play after accidentally setting up Montreal's decisive goal in the previous game, and the Penguins got a 2-1 victory over the Canadiens in Game 5 of their East semifinal series to move within a victory of eliminating Montreal.

"It felt good to have some shots and make some saves," Fleury said. "I felt useful (Saturday), you know, to do something. I was doing something, not just standing there."

Defenseman Sergei Gonchar also scored as the Penguins positioned themselves to close out the series in Montreal on Monday.

Montreal rallied to win the final three games in the opening round against top-seeded Washington. Pittsburgh hasn't blown a 3-2 lead since the 1996 Eastern Conference final against Florida.

"Obviously, everybody still believes," Montreal goalie Jaroslav Halak said. "We are still in it. We've been in this situation before."

Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby remained without a goal in the series, and Evgeni Malkin also didn't find the net — he did set up Letang's pivotal goal late in the first period — but the Penguins had enough offense without their stars to support Fleury's best game of the playoffs.

Halak also played another strong game, making 23 saves, but he showed one weakness: one-timers from above the circles. "Against these guys, one mistake here or there and they'll be in the net," Montreal forward Scott Gomez said.

Letang, so upset after Game 4 that he wouldn't talk with reporters, got the important first goal with a shot from the left point at 18:18 of the first. Malkin carried the puck out from behind the net to open a shooting lane for Letang to score Pittsburgh's seventh goal in 16 power-play chances to that point.

Gonchar made it 2-0 midway through the second period while playing behind a makeshift line of Malkin; Mike Rupp, who missed Game 4, and Mark Letestu, who spent most of the regular season with AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. (Wings Ruslan Fedotenko and Alexei Ponikarovsky were healthy scratches.)

Gonchar took defenseman Brooks Orpik's cross-ice pass a few feet in front of the blue line and drove a shot past Halak.

"The defensemen did a great job of getting the shots through," Rupp said. "If we don't do that, we're not going to score on this guy (Halak)."

With wing Bill Guerin back after sitting out two games with an undisclosed injury, the Penguins also did a better job of crowding the net to make it difficult for Halak to see the puck.

"They had the traffic all the time in front of me, and we didn't (in front of Fleury)," Halak said. "We made it easy on their goalie."

Montreal played most of the final period without top defenseman Hal Gill, who sustained a leg cut while colliding with Penguins wing Chris Kunitz. Gill was to be evaluated today.

Penguins 1 1 0 2
Canadiens 0 0 1 1
Penguins lead series 3-2
Penguins 1 1 0 2
Canadiens 0 0 1 1
Penguins lead series 3-2

First Period1, Pittsburgh, Letang 4 (Malkin, Gonchar), 18:18 (pp). PenaltiesGorges, Mon (cross-checking), 17:15; Kunitz, Pit (cross-checking), 20:00.

Second Period2, Pittsburgh, Gonchar 2 (Orpik, Letestu), 9:50. PenaltiesMoore, Mon (tripping), 16:35.

Third Period3, Montreal, Cammalleri 9 (Gionta, Plekanec), 19:29 (pp). PenaltiesSubban, Mon (delay of game), 5:31; Malkin, Pit (roughing), 6:27; Dupuis, Pit (slashing), 17:34. Shots on GoalMontreal 6-12-15—33. Pittsburgh 9-10-6—25. Power-play opportunitiesMontreal 1 of 3; Pittsburgh 1 of 3. GoaliesMontreal, Halak 6-5-0 (25 shots-23 saves). Pittsburgh, Fleury 7-4-0 (33-32). A17,132 (16,940).

Stamkos scores in win for Canada at worlds

Canada defeated Italy 5-1 in its world championship opener at Mannheim, Germany, behind a goal and an assist each from the Lightning's Steven Stamkos, the Flames' Rene Bourque and the Avalanche's Matt Duchene.

"Overall, we did some things well," Stamkos said. "But we have things to improve on: making smarter plays with the puck, getting pucks in, going in on the forecheck instead of making those pretty plays.

"It's difficult when you're playing with some great players. You want to make some good plays. But at the end of the day, when we scored, it was getting pucks to the net, getting traffic in front, getting some dirty goals."

Lightning wing Steve Downie played 9:38 and didn't record a shot on goal.

Sharks oust Red Wings; Pens edge Habs; Stamkos helps Canada win at worlds 05/08/10 [Last modified: Sunday, May 9, 2010 1:01am]
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