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HOCKEY

Pavelski scores in shootout, Sharks beat Canucks

Joe Pavelski scored the only shootout goal and Antti Niemi stopped all three Vancouver shooters in the San Jose Sharks' 2-1 victory over the Canucks on Thursday night.

After San Jose survived defenseman Dan Boyle's overtime penalty for a gloved punch to Ryan Kesler's face, Pavelski fired a low shot past Luongo's blocker in the second round of the shootout.

Niemi, who made 36 saves through overtime, stopped Mason Raymond and Daniel Sedin before poke-checking Kesler in the final round to seal the victory.

Rookie Logan Couture scored his team-leading 21st goal for the Sharks, who have won three straight after losing the previous six. San Jose moved into a tie for ninth in the Western Conference, one point out of the final playoff spot. Henrik Sedin scored and Luongo finished with 45 saves for the Canucks, 1-2-2 in their last five games after recording points in the previous 17 (14-0-3).

Vancouver leads the Western Conference with 66 points, a point behind NHL-leading Philadelphia.

Henrik Sedin opened the scoring midway through the first period on a nice play with twin brother Daniel, criss-crossing at the blue line before Daniel lifted a perfect pass to Henrik behind the defense. Niemi came out to his right to challenge and Henrik simply extended his stick out and around the sliding goalie with one hand and guided the puck over the line on the other side.

Niemi kept it close with a handful of big saves, including a couple of scrambles with the puck lying behind him, and San Jose took over and tied it in the second period. The Canucks, coming off a five-game trip, were outshot 25-9 in the period and relied on Luongo to keep it tied after Couture scored 6:14 in.

Vancouver defenseman Christian Ehrhoff passed it right to Couture in front of Luongo, who made a great left pad save on the first shot in tight, but was down and out as Couture lifted the rebound in on a backhand.

Luongo stopped Joe Thornton on a breakaway 3:32 into the third period, and again alone in tight early in overtime, but was frozen by Pavelski s low shot.

San Jose forwards Kyle Wellwood and Ben Eager made their Sharks debuts on the third line two days after being acquired. Wellwood was claimed off waivers from St. Louis after leaving Russia s Kontinental Hockey League, and Eager came in a trade with Atlanta in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

NOTES: San Jose signed local university goalie Jordan White to a one-day amateur tryout contract to back up Niemi after Antero Niittymaki hurt his groin the game-day skate and was placed on injured reserve, meaning he'll miss at least a week. ... The 25 shots allowed by Vancouver was three shy of a franchise record for one period, set by the Canucks in their inaugural season, 1970-71. ... San Hose D Kent Huskins was a surprise scratch. C John McCarthy returned after missing 17 games with an upper-body injury and centered the fourth line.