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Sharks enter break with a bang
Phoenix pounded with 5 goals
2/5/04 - by Mike Lee

The Sharks wanted to enter the All-Star break on a high note, so they took care of business by throttling the visiting Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night 5-0 at HP Pavilion. All but three Sharks will get a three day vacation from the ice before returning to practice on Monday, so they wrapped up the evening with one of their strongest performances of the year. Evgeni Nabokov earned his 7th shutout of the season, tying his own single season franchise record. Five Sharks scored goals and eleven players recorded at least one point, sending the Desert Dogs home with their tails between their legs.

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1 2 3 T
PHX 0 0 0 0
SJ 2 2 1 5
1st period - S.J, MCCAULEY (14) (KOROLYUK, EKMAN), 07:15 S.J, HANNAN (3) (PRIMEAU, EKMAN), 13:07
2nd period - S.J, KOROLYUK (7) (PREISSING, EKMAN), 08:53 S.J, STURM (14) (DAMPHOUSSE, STUART), 12:01
3rd period - S.J, MARLEAU (22) (STURM, MCLAREN), 01:53
1st period - PHX, HRDINA, 01:51 - Tripping PHX, HULSE, 06:31 - Hi stick PHX, NAZAROV, 07:19 - Fighting (maj) PHX, NAZAROV, 07:19 - Instigator S.J, PARKER, 07:19 - Fighting (maj) PHX, NAZAROV, 07:19 - Misconduct (10 min) PHX, NAGY, 09:39 - Unsportsmanlike Conduct Diving S.J, PREISSING, 09:39 - Holding
2nd period - S.J, HANNAN, 01:44 - Hooking PHX, HRDINA, 06:42 - Tripping S.J, MCLAREN, 13:18 - Roughing PHX, MARA, 13:18 - Roughing PHX, RADIVOJEVIC, 13:18 - Roughing S.J, PARKER, 13:18 - Roughing S.J, PARKER, 13:18 - Roughing S.J, HANNAN, 16:25 - Roughing PHX, SILLINGER, 16:25 - Roughing PHX, SILLINGER, 16:25 - Roughing
3rd period - PHX, NAZAROV, 00:33 - Holding PHX, NASH, 01:44 - Game misconduct PHX, NASH, 01:44 - Slashing (maj) S.J, DIMITRAKOS, 07:19 - Roughing PHX, SILLINGER, 15:32 - Holding stick PHX, GRATTON, 18:34 - Hi stick
  Shots Saves
PHX - Boucher 35 30
SJ - Nabokov 20 20
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
PHX 5 8 7 20
SJ 10 8 17 35
Power Play Conversion
PHX 0 of 4
SJ 2 of 9
3 Stars of the Game
Nils Ekman
Evgeni Nabokov
Alexander Korolyuk
Nils Ekman led the Sharks with three assists on the evening to push his season points total to 30. Pretty remarkable considering that Ekman didn't think he'd even be playing hockey in North America this season.

Ekman assisted on the Sharks first three goals of the evening and came an eyelash from scoring a goal on a breakaway in the 3rd period.

Alyn McCauley, Scott Hannan, Alexander Korolyuk, Marco Sturm and Patrick Marleau all tallied goals for San Jose, who regain a five-point lead in the Pacific Division over the Dallas Stars.

McCauley would provide all the scoring the Sharks would need at the 7:15 mark of the 1st period when he snapped a deflection past Coyotes goaltender Brian Boucher from the slot.

Hannan would convert six minutes later by tapping in a centering pass from Wayne Primeau while breaking in on net. Primeau flipped a pass to Hannan from behind the Phoenix net. The Sharks have outscored their opponents 53-17 in the 1st period this season.

San Jose would tack on two more goals in the 2nd period, putting the game out of reach. Korolyuk tapped in his 8th of the season after Boucher failed to control a Tom Preissing blast from the slot. Korolyuk was hanging around the side of the goal and easily tap in the Sharks third goal of the night.

Sturm notched his 15th goal of the season at 12:01 of the period after Vincent Damphousse set him up with a pass across the slot. Phoenix tempers would flare and a brawl would brake out less than a minute after Sturm's goal.

Marleau added his team leading 23rd goal of the season early in the 3rd period after the Coyotes had two players in the penalty box.

Both teams racked up 71 minutes in penalties, 52 of which were assessed to Phoenix

Play of the Game
It would be too easy to credit one of the goals as the best play of the game, so instead Korolyuk's diving block on a Phoenix shot late in the 3rd period gets the nod. Korolyuk's whole demeanor on the ice is centered around the team. In comparison, the same player wouldn't have been on the ice killing a penalty three years ago, much less throwing his body in front of rocket.

The Turning Point
The line is getting old, but the Sharks ability to land a knockout punch n the 1st period is setting the ton and helping to win hockey games. Two big goals in the 1st period on Thursday night put San Jose in the drivers seat and the rest was icing.

Save of the Game
Boucher did actually stop a few pucks. None was bigger than his stop of Ekman's breakaway attempt. The Sharks forward tried throwing fifty moves on Boucher before trying to slip the puck around the Coyote goaltender's left skate, but he didn't bite on any of the razzle -dazzle and stoned Ekman.

Box Scores Do No Justice
Marleau's goal was setup by the brainless play of Coyotes pest Tyson Nash, who was kicked out of the game after he took two two-handed hacks at Korolyuk's ankles from behind. Nash earned himself a slashing major and a game misconduct for the dirty deed. Referees did not deem that Tyson had intent to injure, but the play was repulsive nonetheless.

Honorable Mention
Former Sharks Andrei Nazarov tried demonstrating his Russian bear hug on Scott Parker and ended up receiving several stitches for his efforts. Nazarov tried wrapping Parker up and was rewarded with a left that caught him above the left eye. Parker didn't seem too pleased with Nazarov's technique after the tussle.

"It's nice to have two wins in a row at home, and both were solid games with a good performance by everyone." - Evgeni Nabokov

"Nabby has been playing really good. I see him play every day, so he doesn't surprise me any more. He's been at the top of his game all the time and that's impressive. He's going to be a key for us all season." - Nils Ekman

"I didn't think we could get this low, but we are. It's been a roller coaster and the last two nights have been really tough. It's a weird feeling." - Tyson Nash

Ekman's three assists was a career high

Marleau has four goals and four assists in his last five games.

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