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Pavelski powers Sharks into first place in NHL with 3-2 win over Coyotes

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Joe Pavelski scored a power-play goal early in the third period, Tom Cavanagh netted his first NHL tally, and the San Jose Sharks moved back into first place in the league standings with a 3-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night.

Pavelski's 23rd goal was scored from just inside the left circle 1:34 into the third period and came off Devin Setoguchi's second assist of the night. Setoguchi also assisted on Cavanagh's goal in the first period. Jody Shelley also scored for San Jose.

San Jose, with a franchise-record 109 points, jumped two points ahead of Detroit in the race for the Presidents' Trophy. The Sharks improved to 31-3-4 at home but now head on the road, where they are 2-5-1 since Feb. 26.

Kurt Sauer and Matt Lombardi scored for Phoenix.

Evgeni Nabokov made 30 saves, including stopping Nigel Dawes' wrist shot from the left circle with 5:23 remaining. Nabokov also turned aside Phoenix's last shot from centre ice to seal the win.

The Coyotes, who beat San Jose 4-3 on March 17 on a goal by Shane Doan with 26.9 seconds remaining, didn't get many opportunities against Nabokov in the third period and lost for the second time in six games (3-2-1).

Sauer's first goal of the season 2:28 into the second period gave Phoenix a 1-0 lead, but the Sharks tied it 58 seconds later on an unassisted goal by Shelley. Shelley, one of San Jose's enforcers, stole the puck near centre ice and fired a quick shot that beat goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.

Two minutes later, Cavanagh took a quick pass from Setoguchi and flipped the puck over Bryzgalov's right shoulder for a 2-1 San Jose lead.

Lombardi tied it 2-2 at 6:30 of the second, setting off a fight six seconds later between San Jose's Travis Moen and Phoenix's Daniel Winnik.

Lombardi was called for tripping early in the third, setting up Pavelski's winning goal.

Notes: The game was stopped after only nine seconds when linesman Darren Gibbs was hit in the back of the head by a puck off a pass by Dawes. Gibbs was face down on the ice for several moments before slowly getting to his knees and eventually leaving with the aid of a Sharks trainer. He returned later in the first period. ... San Jose played without Jonathan Cheechoo (lower body), Rob Blake (lower body) Ryan Clowe (lower body procedure) and Marcel Goc (lower body). The four had accounted for 13 points in the previous four games against Phoenix. ... The Shark Tank had to be converted from a lacrosse field less than seven hours after the San Jose Stealth played Portland.


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