Lemieux Returns, Sharks Win in OT

Claude Lemieux was still wound up. Nearly two dozen years after he first played in the NHL, a close hard-fought game still has that effect on him.

The 43-year-old Lemieux skated for San Jose in his return after 5½ years in retirement, grinding on the fourth line while the Sharks went on to beat Vancouver 2-1 in overtime Tuesday night.

"It's hard to describe what's going through my mind all night, but I was really hoping for a win, because this team hasn't lost many," said Lemieux, who played 12 shifts on the fourth line. "It was just an amazing game, an amazing experience. I'm actually not so excited that we have to wait six days for the next game."

In other NHL games Tuesday night, it was: Carolina 2, Pittsburgh 1; Atlanta 4, Montreal 2; Phoenix 6, Detroit 3; the New York Rangers 4, Anaheim 2; Ottawa 3, Washington 2; Los Angeles 5, Minnesota 2; and Edmonton 4, Columbus 3.

In San Jose, Calif., Patrick Marleau scored in overtime, Devin Setoguchi got the tying goal and Joe Thornton had two assists for the Sharks, who will head into the All-Star break with at least a share of the league's top record.

Evgeni Nabokov made 13 saves for San Jose, which will enter the All-Star break with 73 points.

Taylor Pyatt scored in the first period for Vancouver.

Lemieux retired after the 2003 playoffs with Dallas before starting a comeback with the Sharks' minor-league affiliate nearly two months ago. He expected to be nearly as nervous as he was before his NHL debut with the Montreal Canadiens nearly 24 years ago.

"Claude did a really good job," coach Todd McLellan said. "He finished his checks. He wasn't a liability on the ice at all. He skated well, which was something we were looking for. I think he's got to feel good about himself after one game."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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