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NHL: San Jose 2, Boston 1

March 23, 2012 at 1:14 AM

SAN JOSE, Calif., March 23 (UPI) -- Antti Niemi took a shutout into the game's final 5 minutes Thursday, carrying the San Jose Sharks to a 2-1 victory over Boston.

San Jose snapped a two-game skid and stayed in the thick of the tight Western Conference playoff race, in which six teams battling for three post-season spots are separated by four points.

Joe Pavelski scored on a slap shot in the first period and Daniel Winnik gave San Jose a 2-0 lead 2:17 into the third.

Niemi's shutout bid ended when Zdeno Chara tallied on a wrist shot with 4:15 to play.

Tim Thomas stopped 25 shots for Boston, which had won two in a row.

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