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Exhibition season begins
Sharks beat L.A. 4-3
9/18/05 - by Mike Lee

If Sunday night's contest is any indication of what's in store for the regular season, the NHL has found a sure fire way to increase scoring in the league. That is, play the majority of the game in power play situations. If the Sharks are going to be successful this year, they'll need to take advantage of those power play situations, especially when the officials hand them 11 man-up opportunities like they did at HP Pavilion on Sunday.

It was the first time a puck had been dropped at the Tank in over 16 months, and Sunday's game had the feel of a regular season affair, even though there were just under four thousand no-shows, but the fact that that many people decided to attend a pre-season game was evidence enough that many were happy to see hockey finally return. San Jose didn't disappoint the home crowd, battling back to defeat the Los Angeles Kings 4-3.

Ryane Clowe scored with just over three minutes to play in the 3rd period to give the Sharks a come-from-behind victory. The Sharks farmhand intercepted a clearing pass at the Kings blueline then drew King's goaltender Adam Hauser out of his crease before slipping a backhand shot into the goal.

The Sharks were playing with many regulars, including captain Patrick Marleau, Jonathan Cheechoo, Kyle McLaren, Brad Stuart, Wayne Primeau, Nils Ekman and Evgeni Nabokov.

The Sharks also unveiled a hit parade of 1st round draft picks including Devin Setoguchi (2005), Lukas Kaspar (2004), Milan Michalek (2003) and Marcel Goc (2001). Setoguchi scored his first goal in the second period on an assist by Michalek. Goc and Kaspar would assist on a goal by Ekman in the 3rd period which knotted the game at 3-3.

Team speed was evident all evening, so if the NHL holds to the no nonsense approach its taking on obstruction this season, it may rain goals this season on Santa Clara Street. The Kings failed to adapt right out of the gate and it ended up preventing their offense from unleashing anymore damage on Nabokov, who looked rusty in his return to the ice.

Nabokov logged all 60 minutes in net, while the Kings split playing time between Jason Labarbarera and Hauser. Nabokov drew an unusual roughing penalty in the 1st period.

The Kings failed to convert late in the game after pulling Hauser for an extra skater. Sharks defenseman Christian Ehrhoff sweetened the deal for Los Angeles, after drawing an interference penalty with 45 seconds remaining in regulation.

After the regulation had expired, the two teams were given the opportunity to work on their shootout skills, which has been implemented this season if two teams end regulation and the five-minute overtime period deadlocked.

The Kings converted on two of three shots, while the sharks failed to convert on any of their three shots. None of San Jose's players demonstrated any dazziling attempts during the shootout, most likely to prevent revealing a move that may come in handy when the games start counting in October.

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1 2 3 T
LA 1 2 0 3
SJ 1 1 2 4
1st period - 1, Los Angeles, Jeff Cowan 1 (Nathan Dempsey, Eric Belanger), 14:05. 2, San Jose, Wayne Primeau 1 (Christian Ehrhoff, Jonathan Cheechoo), 16:04.
2nd period - 3, Los Angeles, Luc Robitaille 1 (Valeri Bure, Mattias Norstrom), 1:28. 4, San Jose, Devin Setoguchi 1 (power play) (Milan Michalek, Brad Stuart), 7:56. 5, Los Angeles, Noah Clarke 1 (power play) (Eric Belanger, Luc Robitaille), 11:23.
3rd period - 6, San Jose, Nils Ekman 1 (Marcel Goc, Lukas Kaspar), 5:33. 7, San Jose, Ryane Clowe 1 (Unassisted), 16:12.
1st period - T Kostopoulos, Los (hooking), 0:43; A Kopitar, Los (holding stick), 4:23; V Bure, Los (hooking), 7:05; R Clowe, San (hooking), 9:38; D Grebeshkov, Los (hooking), 10:17; K Mclaren, San (hooking), 11:54; E Nabokov, San (roughing served by R Clowe), 19:26.
2nd period - J Giuliano, Los (hooking), 3:22; E Belanger, Los (holding), 3:52; D Grebeshkov, Los (hooking), 7:26; J Fahey, San (hooking), 10:15; T Kostopoulos, Los (tripping), 14:38; K Belanger, Los (hooking), 17:54.
3rd period - N Dempsey, Los (hooking), 1:42; K Belanger, Los (holding), 10:32; D Setoguchi, San (hooking), 11:35; C Ehrhoff, San (interference), 19:15.
  Shots Saves
LA - Labarbera 25 23
LA - Hauser1412
SJ - Nabokov 14 11
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
LA 5 5 4 14
SJ 14 20 5 39
Power Play Conversion
LA 1 of 6
SJ 1 of 11
3 Stars of the Game
Ryane Clowe
Luc Robitaille
Milan Michalek
Referees: Kelly Sutherland, Rob Shick. Linesmen: Jay Sharrers, Vaughan Rody.

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