SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -Milan Michalek scored on the opening shift, San Jose added three more goals in its highest-scoring period of the season and the Sharks coasted to their franchise-record 11th straight victory, 4-1 over the St. Louis Blues on Friday night.
Jeremy Roenick, Brian Campbell and Patrick Marleau also scored in a dominant four-goal opening period that helped San Jose increase its lead in the Pacific Division over idle Dallas and Anaheim. The Sharks are three points ahead of the Stars and four in front of the Ducks, with two games in hand over both teams.
That's quite a turnaround from the end of last month when San Jose was 11 points behind Dallas. All it took to erase that was the longest winning streak in the NHL since New Jersey won its final 11 games of the 2005-06 season.
Evgeni Nabokov made 19 saves for his league-leading 41st win for the Sharks, allowing only a power-play goal by David Backes 54 seconds into the middle period.
St. Louis lost for the 11th time in 12 games.
Panthers 3, Rangers 2
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) - Olli Jokinen scored a power-play goal 7:12 into the third period, stretching Florida's winning streak to a season-high six and handing the New York Rangers their first regulation loss in more than a month.
The Rangers had been 10-0-3 since a 4-1 home loss to Anaheim on Feb. 7.
Florida's winning streak is the third longest in team history.
Rostislav Olesz and Jassen Cullimore also scored for Florida, three behind eighth-place Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Dan Girardi and Scott Gomez scored for the Rangers, sixth in the East with 83 points.
Sabres 7, Hurricanes 1
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Derek Roy had two goals and an assist, giving new life to Buffalo's playoff hopes.
The Sabres scored four goals on their first seven shots, snapping a four-game skid (0-2-2) and creeping within two points of eighth-place Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
The Hurricanes had a five-game win streak snapped, and had their lead atop the Southeast Division cut to five points after both Washington and Florida won Friday.
Adam Mair had a goal, two assists, and a fight in a penalty-filled game. Daniel Paille, Paul Gaustad, Ales Kotalik and Patrick Kaleta also scored in a blowout reminiscent of the Sabres' 8-1 win over Carolina at Buffalo on Dec. 1.
Scott Walker spoiled Ryan Miller's shutout bid, scoring a short-handed goal on an odd-man rush with 8:30 left. Miller made 27 saves.
Cam Ward was pulled after allowing four goals on seven shots in the first period.
Capitals 4, Thrashers 1
WASHINGTON (AP) - Brooks Laich scored two goals and Alex Ovechkin and Matt Cooke each had a goal and an assist to lead Washington over Atlanta.
Laich, who had never scored twice in his first 214 NHL games, has multigoal efforts in three of the past nine. Ovechkin, the NHL leader in goals and points, gave Washington a 4-1 lead with his 57th goal and 99th point. He assisted on Laich's first of the night.
Slava Kozlov scored for Atlanta.
Blackhawks 6, Blue Jackets 3
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Cam Barker, Patrick Kane and Andrew Ladd paced Chicago with a goal and an assist each, and the Blackhawks snapped a four-game losing streak by beating Columbus.
Duncan Keith, Dave Bolland and Dustin Byfuglien also scored for Chicago, who jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first period. Patrick Lalime made 29 saves.
Fredrik Modin, Dan Fritsche and Rick Nash tallied for the Blue Jackets, who have won only one of nine home games. Pascal Leclaire was pulled after allowing three goals on six shots in the first.

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