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Maple Leafs snatch win in shootout

The Associated Press

The Sharks’ Joe Thornton, right, fights with the Maple Leafs’ Nazem Kadri during Thursday’s game.

The Associated PressTORONTO (AP) — Nazem Kadri was an assist short of a bizarre Gordie Howe hat trick.

Kadri ripped out part of Joe Thornton’s mountain-man beard in a fight off the opening faceoff and scored in regulation in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 3-2 shootout victory over the San Jose Sharks on Thursday.

Thornton and Kadri dropping the gloves just two seconds after being tossed out of the opening faceoff for slashing each other like manic lumberjacks. The 38-year-old Thornton’s beard took a beating in the scrap, thanks to Kadri hanging on to the beard rather than his jersey as he was twirled around by the bigger Shark. A hunk of Thornton’s facial hair was left on the ice like a mini-tumbleweed.

“I ended up with a piece of it in my hand,” Kadri said. “I have no idea how that happened.

“I thought I was a hockey player not a barber. I didn’t mean to grab him there. I mean he’s a big boy. I couldn’t reach all the way across his shoulder. I felt like I just grabbed him in the middle of his jersey and just came down with a handful of his hair.”

Thornton didn’t comment after the game. The hair ultimately found its way to the glove of backup goalie Aaron Dell on the San Jose bench.

“We were trying to figure out what it was,” Sharks forward Chris Tierney said.

Kadri, who was giving up at least 4 inches and 14 kilograms to Thornton, had a welt on the side of his face as a souvenir of the fight.

“I didn’t see that coming,” said former Shark Patrick Marleau.

The fight seemed to spark the Leafs, who snapped a three-game losing streak. They had plenty of jump against the talented Sharks in a wide-open, entertaining game that saw plenty of big saves at both ends.

“It was a good fight ... It kind of gets everybody pumped up, especially to see a smaller guy like that [fight],” Leafs center Auston Matthews said.

Blues halt streaking Knights

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Paul Stastny broke a third-period tie with his eighth goal of the season, Carter Hutton continued his strong play in goal and the St. Louis Blues beat the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1.

Alexander Steen also scored for the Blues, who won their third straight. Hutton made 32 saves, including two tough stops early in the third while the game was tied.Speech

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