TORONTO (Reuters) - Ryane Clowe used a borrowed stick to score the late game-winner as the San Jose Sharks beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on Monday for a ninth straight road win on the road.
The Western Conference-leading Sharks (39-11-9) moved within one road triumph of tying a franchise record for successive wins away from home, and within a point of the Washington Capitals for the top spot in the NHL.
Clowe got the decisive goal at 13.21 in the third period using a stick owned by his more prolific team mate Dany Heatley.
"I guess it goes to show, it's not the player, it's the stick," joked Clowe, who has scored 15 goals this season to Heatley's 32.
"I didn't think there was any goals left in it, but there was one left. I'm going to have to hold on to that one."
Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov played a valuable role with 32 saves, although he could not stop Toronto center Phil Kessel from tying the game on a snap shot that came with 51 seconds left in the second.
Eastern Conference strugglers Toronto (19-30-11) had opened the scoring on a Tyler Bozak goal in the first period.
San Jose, however, fired back through Dan Boyle and Joe Pavelski within the first six minutes of the second.
As well as winning the game, Clowe's goal also handed Toronto netminder Jean-Sebastien Giguere his first loss since joining the Maple Leafs.
Acquired in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks on January 31, Giguere became the first Maple Leafs goaltender to post shutouts in his first two games with the team, but he had no such luck against San Jose.
Toronto played shorthanded with Christian Hanson and Fredrik Sjostrom both sidelined with sickness. The team was forced to promote 19-year-old Nazem Kadri, the seventh pick in the 2009 Entry Draft.
"He skated well," said Leafs coach Ron Wilson. "This was a great opportunity for him, to see what the NHL is all about. He had a lot of turnovers.
"Things he can probably get away with in junior hockey, you can't get away with in our league, let alone against a top team in the league."
(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles, editing by Nick Mulvenney)