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Hurricanes hand Sharks a rare loss

SERGEI Samsonov delivered a game-ending goal to complete the Carolina Hurricanes' unlikely rally over the San Jose Sharks 4-3 in a shootout on Thursday in San Jose, California.

Samsonov put a backhand past Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov in the final attempt of the shootout as the Hurricanes condemned the Western Conference-leading Sharks (36-7-6) to their first consecutive home losses in nearly a year.

Carolina goalie Michael Leighton recorded 37 stops - his second-highest total of the year - while filling in for Cam Ward, who had started 17 straight games.

"I think (Ward) needed a day off the ice based on the normal wear and tear you put on a goalie who plays that many games," Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said.

"We're going to give him a bit of work and we expect him back in there in Phoenix (on Saturday)."

Samsonov led a late charge by Carolina, who made their way back from a 3-1 deficit. His goal at 14:50 in the second period made it 3-2 and Ray Whitney tied the game with a goal 7:30 into the third.

Playing without their captain, Rod Brind'Amour, who was out with a lower body injury, the Hurricanes (26-22-5) showed plenty of resolve.

"This definitely was a gutsy effort and we really showed a lot of heart," Leighton said.

San Jose took early control of the game on a goal from Ryan Clowe in the first period, his 20th of the season, and Alexei Semenov made it 2-0 at 3:10 into the second.

Matt Cullen pulled Carolina within one at 4:55 in the second on a penalty shot and Marc-Edouard Vlasic answered with a goal two minutes later to give the Sharks a commanding 3-1 advantage.

After both teams went scoreless in the overtime session, San Jose's Milan Michalek and Carolina's Tuomo Ruutu had shootout goals before Samsonov got the final say.

Chicago moves up

In other games, it was: Blackhawks 5, Flames 2; Bruins 4, Senators 3, SO; Kings 5, Capitals 4; Predators 4, Ducks 2; Avalanche 3, Stars 2; Oilers 2, Blues 1, SO; and Panthers 3, Islanders 2.

In Calgary, Alberta, Chicago leapfrogged Calgary into third place in the Western Conference.

Adam Burish broke a tie midway through the second period, and Nikolai Khabibulin made 29 saves for the Blackhawks, who are 4-1-0 on an eight-game road trip.

In Ottawa, Boston notched a fourth straight win, thanks to a spectacular performance in the shootout by goaltender Tim Thomas, who stopped all five Ottawa shots.

P.J. Axelsson secured the win by putting a backhander between the pads of the Ottawa goalie.

In Washington, Los Angeles dealt Washington a rare home defeat, winning despite allowing Alex Ovechkin's 200th NHL goal.

Ovechkin scored with just under 10 minutes left, pulling Washington to 4-3. It was his league-leading 37th goal this season. Ovechkin now has 200 goals in his first four seasons - a feat matched only by Wayne Gretzky, Mike Bossy and Mario Lemieux.

Anze Kopitar scored two goals and added an assist for the Kings.

In Denver, Colorado snapped Dallas' winning streak at five games.

Cody McLeod broke a tie with 7 minutes left, putting the Avalanche ahead for good.

In Sunrise, Florida, Richard Zednik's stunning goal in the second period helped surging Florida end New York's season-high winning streak at four games.

The Panthers have lost only two of their past 14 games in regulation time.


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