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Published: Thursday, 2/26/2009

Wings dispatch Sharks

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle moves the puck as the Wings' Pavel Datsyuk tries for the steal in the first period last night. Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle moves the puck as the Wings' Pavel Datsyuk tries for the steal in the first period last night.
PAUL SANCYA / AP Enlarge

DETROIT - Henrik Zetterberg showed why the Detroit Red Wings want him to end his career with them.

Zetterberg scored a spectacular goal and a crafty one, lifting Detroit to a 4-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks last night.

"We've grown accustom to watching him play like that," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said.

The 28-year-old forward signed a 12-year deal last month worth $73 million, keeping him off the free-agent market this summer.

"He's a superstar," Detroit general manager Ken Holland said. "We're lucky to have him."

Red Wings goalie Ty Conklin stops a shot by Sharks center Joe Pavelski in the first period of their game in Detroit last night. Red Wings goalie Ty Conklin stops a shot by Sharks center Joe Pavelski in the first period of their game in Detroit last night.
PAUL SANCYA / AP Enlarge

The Red Wings dominated the final regular-season matchup and possible Western Conference finals preview.

But the defending Stanley Cup champions insist they're not the team to beat.

"They're ahead of us," Zetterberg said. "You can't live in the past."

The Sharks have an NHL-high 91 points, but they have just a three-point lead over the Red Wings in the Western Conference standings with less than two months left.

Both teams won twice at home in the four-game season series, seemingly making home-ice advantage even more important.

Detroit's Marian Hossa scored the first goal of the game, but the team held him out of the third period for precautionary reasons because he had concussion-like symptoms.

"He'll be fine," Babcock said.

Ty Conklin made 34 saves for the Red Wings, winning his 12th straight home start.

Hossa scored his team-high 34th goal on a power play 6:51 into the game, rookie Ville Leino scored an even-strength goal late in the first period and Zetterberg's short-handed goal 4:08 into the second put Detroit ahead 3-0.

Christian Ehrhoff scored on the power play midway through the second period to avoid a shutout, but the Sharks simply couldn't generate enough offensively to make a comeback.

They did, however, have one apparent goal negated by video review.

Zetterberg whiffed on an opportunity to give Detroit a two-goal lead in the first period, but he made up for it - twice.

He blocked a shot in the Detroit zone, raced with the puck up the ice, did a 360-degree spin between the circles and snapped a wrist shot past Nabokov.

Late in the third period with a two-man advantage, Zetterberg started to wrap around the net for a shot only to stop, pivot and score on the short side of the net.

MAPLE LEAFS 2, RANGERS 1, SO

TORONTO - Nikolai Kulemin scored the shootout winner, Vesa Toskala turned aside all three New York attempts and Toronto spoiled John Tortorella's Rangers debut last night.

Kulemin beat Henrik Lundqvist on Toronto's first attempt in the tiebreaker.

Niklas Hagman scored in regulation for Toronto.

Wade Redden countered for the Rangers, playing their first game since Tortorella replaced Tom Renney as coach Monday - a day after Toronto's 3-2 overtime victory over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

PENGUINS 1, ISLANDERS 0

PITTSBURGH - Petr Sykora scored with 2:28 remaining, and Marc-Andre Fleury, made 21 saves for his third shutout this season for Pittsburgh last night.

The Penguins played without Sidney Crosby, sidelined by a groin injury.

Sykora scored his 23rd goal to end Yann Danis' five-period shutout streak.

FLYERS 2, KINGS 0

PHILADELPHIA - Martin Biron made 34 saves for his 25th career shutout and Jeff Carter scored his 36th goal of the season for Philadelphia last night.

The Flyers have won seven of their last nine games to move within four points of New Jersey for third place in the Eastern Conference.

Simon Gagne added his 23rd goal, an empty-netter with a second left.



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