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Offensive struggles continue
Lifeless performance = loss
11/2/06 - by Mike Lee

The league's most potent power play looked anything but dominant on Thursday night. Generating few scoring chances, even with 5 chances on the mad-advantage, the Sharks proved that their special teams play is beatable. The visiting New York Rangers took full advantage of San Jose's anemic offense to beat the Sharks 3-1 at HP Pavilion.

To add to the Sharks woes, the 5-on-5 continued to struggle, having scored only 6 even-strength goals in the team's last six games. What started as a high energy game, with great tempo, turned into a frustrating night for the host Sharks.

Kyle McLaren would score the only goal for San Jose late in the 3rd period. McLaren was the noticeable bright spot for the Sharks who failed to extend their two-game winning streak.

McLaren woke the Sharks bench up midway through the 1st period, with a bone jarring hip-check on Rangers center Petr Prucha. The hit sent Prucha crumpled at the Sharks blueline, but it seemed to spark both teams into a faster paced contest for the remainder of the period.

That pace would burn the Sharks at the end of the period, when Joe Thornton made an ill advised drop pass at the end of a shift as time was winding down. Thornton's line had extended its stay on the ice a one rush too many, and got caught too far in the Rangers zone after Brendan Shanahan picked up Thornton's mistake and chipped it up ice to Prucha.

Cullen took the relay from Prucha then steamed up ice, before depositing a breakaway goal with 0.7 seconds remaining in the period.

From that point, every bounce seemed to go New York's way. Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov could attest after stoning Martin Straka with a beautiful save four minutes into the middle period. Nabokov had to stretch to make the initial save, but got caught on the follow up after falling to the ice.

Straka simply tried to put the puck out in front of the net from a sever angle along the goal line, but the puck caught Nabokov's pad and redirected into the net.

The Sharks could muster little offense until McLaren broke up Kevin Weekes shutout bid with a goal at 17:36 of the 3rd period on a 40-foot shot from the left wing boards.

The goal gave the Sharks a chance to pull Nabokov with two minutes left in regulation, but Shanahan iced the game with a bank shot off the side boards that skittered the length of the ice, into the Sharks net.

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1 2 3 T
NY 1 1 1 3
SJ 0 0 1 1
1st period - 1, NY, Cullen 4 (Prucha, Shanahan), 19:59.
2nd period - 2, NY, Straka 7 (Nylander, Tyutin), 4:08.
3rd period - 3, SJ, McLaren 1 (Grier), 17:36. 4, NY, Shanahan 12 (unassisted), 19:56, (en).
1st period - Malik, NY (hooking), 12:47.
2nd period - Thornton, SJ (delay of game), 7:32; Cullen, NY (hooking), 9:45; Hall, NY (delay of game), 12:35; Nieminen, SJ (charging), 15:03; Cheechoo, SJ (elbowing), 18:11; Jagr, NY (tripping), 19:08.
3rd period - Jagr, NY (hooking), 12:41.
  Shots Saves
NY - Weekes 30 29
SJ - Nabokov 18 16
SJ - empty net10
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
NY 4 9 6 19
SJ 9 12 9 30
Power Play Conversion
NY 0 of 3
SJ 0 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Kevin Weekes
Martin Straka
Kyle McLaren
Referees: Paul Devorski, Wes McCauley. Linesmen: Brad Lazarowich, Jay Sharrers.

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