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Nabokov, Setoguchi blank the Stars

DEVIN Setoguchi grabbed the game-winning goal and Evgeni Nabokov recorded his 45th career shutout as the San Jose Sharks blanked the injury-depleted Dallas Stars 1-0 on Monday.

Setoguchi skated around Darryl Sydor to score from the right faceoff circle with 12:05 to play in the third period and that proved enough to give the Sharks their fourth consecutive victory.

"I had seen Seto curl deep so I knew he was going to be flying with speed," teammate Ryane Clowe said. "I think he caught Sydor kind of flat-footed."

Nabokov stopped 29 Dallas shots for his fifth shutout this season for the Western Conference leaders.

The netminder's effort did not go unnoticed by Setoguchi.

"We had a lot of passengers out there and didn't play the greatest hockey game," Setoguchi said. "Nabby kept us in it."

San Jose stretched its lead to 26 points over second-placed Dallas in the Pacific Division. The Sharks have an NHL-best 91 points.

Marty Turco had 23 saves for the Stars, keeping the score close.

"The effort was what we need every night, a complete effort from everyone," Stars coach Dave Tippett said.

"We did some real good things, but we didn't execute well enough. We didn't score a goal and you can't win without goals ... Nabokov was good."

The Stars played without centers Brad Richards, who is out for six to eight weeks with a broken wrist, and Mike Modano, who had the flu. They also lost center Toby Petersen to a lower body injury in the second period.

Off the rink, Tom Renney was fired as coach of the New York Rangers on Monday in an attempt to save a season that has spiraled out of control.

The Rangers opened the season with a 10-2-1 record, but 10 losses in the last 12 games has knocked the team out of contention for the Atlantic Division title and placed it in danger of missing the playoffs completely.

In recent home games, fans had chanted for Renney to be fired.

General manager Glen Sather didn't immediately name a replacement.

Renney, a former coach of the Vancouver Canucks, was 164-121-42 with the Rangers in four plus seasons and ranks fourth on the team's career wins and games coached lists.

Assistant coach Perry Pearn was also fired, but fellow assistant Mike Pelino was retained along with goalie coach Benoit Allaire, the Rangers said.

Fiery former Tampa Bay Lightning coach John Tortorella, who once served as a Rangers assistant, could emerge as a candidate. His no-nonsense approach would be a stark contrast to the laid-back, player-friendly Renney.


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