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Henrik Sedin scores overtime winner as red-hot Canucks beat Sharks 2-1

The Canadian Press
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Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo blocks a shot by a San Jose Sharks player in the second period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Friday, March 9, 2007. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma) Author: The Hockey News

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Henrik Sedin scores overtime winner as red-hot Canucks beat Sharks 2-1

The Canadian Press
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Taylor Pyatt's goal early in the third period ended more than eight periods of scoreless hockey by Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov, but captain Patrick Marleau tied it with a snappy power-play goal with 6:58 left.

Sedin then got a sharp pass from Kevin Bieksa and sneaked behind new Sharks defenceman Craig Rivet late in overtime, barely sliding the puck under Nabokov, who made 35 saves in an outstanding performance, as he sprawled on the ice.

Luongo earned his 39th victory to break Kirk McLean's franchise record for wins with 24 games still left in his dynamite debut season with the Canucks. He made only a handful of tough saves, but kept his cool when his helmet came flying off during an early goal-mouth scramble.

Pyatt's rebound goal in front of Nabokov broke open a scoreless game and ended the goalie's scoreless streak at 166 minutes, seven seconds - more than 19 minutes better than his own franchise record. Counting the brief periods when Nabokov was off the ice in the previous three games, the Sharks hadn't allowed a goal in 167:16, also a club record.

Pyatt's goal was his 18th of the season, extending his career high in his first season in Vancouver.

The Sharks seemed unlikely to beat Luongo - but Marleau beat two defenders on the left wing for his first goal since Feb. 13 and his team-leading 30th of the season. Marleau recently missed five games with injuries.

With fellow Sharks goalie Vesa Toskala still nursing a groin injury, Nabokov played his 12th straight game. After alternating starts with Toskala all season, Nabokov has rounded into top form with his first consistent playing time in more than a year.

Nabokov was outstanding again, but the Sharks faltered in their return from a road trip that ended with consecutive shutouts of Dallas and Minnesota, breathing life back into their faint Pacific Division title hopes.

After sitting out Thursday night's 4-2 win at Phoenix, Luongo returned to the lineup for a chance to surpass McLean's 38 victories in 1991-92.

The teams played the first two periods fairly evenly, with both goalies keeping it scoreless thanks to a handful of lucky bounces. San Jose's slumping power-play unit dropped out of the NHL's top overall spot with a scoreless three-game road trip, and the Sharks failed to score during a lengthy man advantage in the first period.

The Canucks had their best chance with six seconds left in their 18-shot second period, but Pyatt couldn't get his blade on a loose puck near an open net.

Notes: Nabokov set the previous shutout record in February 2003. The goalie already is the franchise leader in nearly every career statistical category. ... Marleau's career goal-scoring record is 34, set last season. ... Pyatt never scored more than 14 goals in his first five NHL seasons with the Islanders and the Sabres.

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Henrik Sedin scores overtime winner as red-hot Canucks beat Sharks 2-1