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Thornton leads Sharks to 3-2 win over Canucks

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JOSEPH STIGLICH | April 2, 2013 01:19 AM EST | AP

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SAN JOSE, Calif. — Joe Thornton had a goal and an assist during a second-period scoring flurry and the San Jose Sharks beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 on Monday night for their fifth straight victory.

San Jose broke a scoreless tie with three goals in a span of 2:13 against Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider, then held on and completed a season sweep of Vancouver.

It didn't come easy, as the Canucks got goals from Chris Higgins and Alexandre Burrows to pull within one. But the Sharks prevailed and extended their longest win streak since taking seven straight to open the season.

Trade speculation continues to swirl around Sharks forward Ryane Clowe, who was a healthy scratch, but the Sharks are grabbing enough attention for what's happening on the ice. They remain in the No. 6 playoff position in the Western Conference but trail Los Angeles by just one point for the fifth spot.

The Sharks dominated the first period, outshooting Vancouver 14-6, but they couldn't convert a couple of prime opportunities.

Things changed quickly in the second period.

Andrew Desjardins beat Schneider from the left side at the 7:41 mark to break a scoreless tie, and less than a minute later Thornton outfought a Canucks player for a loose puck just inside the blue line and blasted a wrister that found the net for a 2-0 lead.

The Sharks then sent a sellout home crowd into hysterics with an electrifying sequence after a penalty to Vancouver's Kevin Bieksa. San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi made a terrific save on a short-handed breakaway opportunity for Jannik Hansen, and the Sharks immediately headed back the other way.

Patrick Marleau sent a pass to Logan Couture in front of the net, and Couture appeared to knock the puck into the net with his skate at 9:54. The play was reviewed but the goal was upheld, as it was ruled that Couture didn't intentionally kick the puck in.

Just like that, the Canucks were behind 3-0, and the Sharks' scoring blitz had to provide a bad case of déjà vu. On Saturday, the Canucks allowed four goals on their first five shots allowed in a 4-0 loss to Edmonton.

Vancouver, currently holding the No. 4 seed in the West, tried to shake its recent offensive slump, calling up highly touted winger Nicklas Jensen. The 20-year-old made his NHL debut and played on the top line alongside Henrik and Daniel Sedin. Winger Bill Sweatt also was called up from Chicago of the AHL and played in just his third NHL game.

NOTES: The Sharks activated G Thomas Greiss from injured reserve and he served as Niemi's backup. Alex Stalock was reassigned to Worcester. . With speculation swirling around Clowe, the Sharks pulled the trigger on another deal, sending C Michal Handzus to Chicago for a fourth-round pick in this season's draft. . D Matt Tennyson became the first product of the Junior Sharks youth program to appear in a game for San Jose. He spent part of his youth in Pleasanton, just a 30-minute drive from San Jose.