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Sharks beat Canucks to grab sole lead in the West

SAN JOSE, California (Reuters) - The San Jose Sharks reclaimed sole possession of top spot in the Western Conference thanks to a 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.

Chicago have two contests left to play against the Colorado Avalanche on Friday and the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.

"You know what, that's something we've got to handle," San Jose center Joe Pavelski told reporters, of his team not controlling their own destiny.

"That was up to us earlier, we could have gotten another point, a few more wins."

The Canucks (48-28-5), who have clinched the West's No. 3 seed by winning the Northwest Division, made a late push on third-period goals from Pavol Demitra and Andrew Alberts but lost their second straight.

Vancouver attempted 13 shots in the third but it was too little too late for a team that rested Winter Olympic gold medalist Roberto Luongo and instead played goaltender Andrew Raycroft.

Despite the Canucks sitting key players, both teams competed meaningfully and the third period turned particularly physical, producing 76 combined penalty minutes.

The Sharks had six players in the penalty box at one time with defenseman Niclas Wallin being one of the worst offenders, cited for fighting, roughing and misconduct.

"We perhaps lost our composure a little bit, but what I liked about it was there was emotion in there," said Sharks coach Todd McLellan.

One plus for Vancouver was Henrik Sedin assisting on Demitra's goal to register his 108th point of the season, the leading tally in the NHL.

(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles, editing by Patrick Johnston)