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Costly win for S.J.?
Nabokov injured in win over Phoenix
11/11/06 - by Mike Lee

The Sharks extended their winning streak to four games on Saturday night in Phoenix, but may have lost a goaltender in the process. Starter Evgeni Nabokov was forced to leave the game with a stiff neck after Coyotes centerman Michael Zigomanis plowed into the Sharks netminder early in the contest. Zigomanis also hit Nabokov with his stick with a cross check that should have drawn a harsher penalty.

Nabokov's teammates took immediate exception to Zigomanis' reckless play and went after him on the ice. When the smoke cleared, the Coyotes ended up with a man-advantage situation. Mark Bell was sent off for roughing during the stoppage and Mike Grier drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Scott Hannan added to the predicament by drawing a holding penalty 19 seconds into the Coyotes 5-on-4 advantage. San Jose rebuffed the Coyotes power play, but did little to avenge Zigomanis' misdeed when they were given a two-man advantage for a minute later in the period.

Donald MacLean appeared to give the Coyotes the early lead as Hannan's penalty expired, but the would-be goal was waved off, because MacLean kicked the puck into the net as the Coyotes staged another bum rush on Nabokov.

Yannic Perreault would convert for the Coyotes with 53 ticks left in the period, by redirecting an Oleg Saprykin pass past Nabokov.

Nabokov would finish out the period, but did not return when the puck was dropped to start the middle period.

The Sharks rallied around Vesa Toskala who would replace Nabokov and stop all 25 shots he would face, including 15 in the 3rd period.

"Getting outshot is not a significant factor," said Nabokov. "It's the quality chances that you want to eliminate, and then it's up to the goalie to see the puck and make the save. So far, our defense has been solid, and that makes my job easier."

The Sharks would tie things up 4 minutes into the 2nd when Steve Bernier was credited with tipping in a shot by Hannan. Sharks Captain Patrick Marleau setup the scoring chance by drawing a defender away from the puck before sliding a pass to Hannan.

Marleau would score the game winner midway through the period with a 40-foot slapper that beat Curtis Joseph. Marleau rifled a Milan Michalek pass over Joseph's right shoulder to score his 11th goal of the season.

Toskala played superbly considering the limited notice he was given to prepare himself. Phoenix failed to generate any serious scoring chances in the final period despite the high shot count.

"Our defense is doing an outstanding job, but we need to clean up some little things," San Jose coach Ron Wilson said. "The wingers are turning the pucks over and that's not acceptable. Sure, we picked up the two points, but have to figure out how we can do things better and improve."

Sharks head coach Ron Wilson called a timeout with just under a minute to play to rest his players for the rush that the Coyotes would through at San Jose, but Marcel Goc won 3 of 4 faceoffs in that final minute to deny Phoenix any chance to establish a serious charge.

"If we were 9-4 instead of 4-11, you might say, 'Oh well, we played well. Let's get ready for our next game,"' said Coyotes head coach Wayne Gretzky. "We can't afford to give any points away. Our effort was strong, but that's not good enough."


Former Sharks captain Owen Nolan saw only 15:29 of ice time on 24 shifts against his former team, and was hardly a factor in the contest. Nolan recorded a single shot on goal and was credited with a hit, but provided little spark otherwise.

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1 2 3 T
SJ 0 2 0 2
PHO 1 0 0 1
1st period - 1, PHO, Perreault 1 (Saprykin, Morris), 19:07.
2nd period - 2, SJ, Bernier 5 (HAnnan, Marleau), 3:58. 3, SJ, Marleau 11 (Michalek, Bernier), 10:34.
3rd period - None.
1st period - Bell, SJ (roughing), 7:48; Grier, SJ (unsportsmanlike conduct), 7:48; Zigomani, PHO (goaltender interference), 7:48; HAnnan, SJ (holding), 8:09; Carle, SJ (hooking), 11:13; Fischer, PHO (tripping), 14:54; bench, PHO (too many men), 15:57.
2nd period - Laraque, PHO (interference), 13:37.
3rd period - Jovanovski, PHO (tripping), 0:36; Brown, SJ (interference), 3:43.
  Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 14 13
SJ - Toskala 25 25
PHO - Joseph 18 16
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 7 8 3 18
PHO 14 10 15 39
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 4
PHO 0 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Patrick Marleau
Scott Hannan
Steve Bernier
Referees: Mike Hasenfratz, Dennis LaRue. Linesmen: Darren Gibbs, Mark Wheler.

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