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Pavelski heats up in LA
Rookie bags a pair in win
12/12/06 - by Mike Lee

The Sharks may want to consider forcing every player on the roster not already named Joe to change their name to the hottest three letter word in the South Bay. Joe Pavelski followed up Joe Thornton's recent assist hot streak with a two goal performance in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, to pace the Sharks to a 3-1 win over the host Kings at the Staples Center.

Pavelski scored his 6th and 7th goals of the season, playing in only his 10th game of the year and is quickly turning into an offensive for the surging Sharks. The 2003 7th round draft pick netted the game winner with a breakaway tally midway through the 2nd period then converted a power play chance to pad a 3-0 lead early in the 3rd.

"I've capitalized on a lot of opportunities I've gotten," said Pavelski. "I'm just so new and I want to keep things going."

The Kings had to be scratching their heads after throwing 20 shots on Evgeni Nabokov in the middle period, only to see Pavelski score on a breakaway after leaving the penalty box, where he served a bench minor for too many men on the ice. Nabokov stood tall in that middle frame, denying three Los Angeles power play chances and stopping everything the Kings could muster.

"We're just not good enough," Kings center Derek Armstrong said. "The first two periods we were getting the pucks to the net and I think we tried to play too wide open in the third and it cost us."

Nabokov would finish the game with 36 saves on the evening, and finally received a little offensive support. Steve Bernier made the most of a fluke play after Matt Carle fired the puck into the Kings zone as the Sharks entered the Los Angeles zone. The puck kicked out of the corner back into the slot, where Bernier scooped it up and snapped a shot past Dan Cloutier for the 1-0 Sharks lead.

Nabokov made sure the Kings had limited opportunities to capitalize on many rebounds by smothering every long range shot that was thrown his way.

"They shoot from everywhere and we know that," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "They're not always dangerous, but they make the goalie work. We did a good job clearing rebounds."

Pavelski would add his second goal after the Kings sent two men to the penalty box 1:14 apart. Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo setup the goal with a series of passes down low, but Cloutier got crossed up on the play, opening up the entire right side of the net for Pavelski to shoot at.

San Jose out-shot the Kings 15-5 in the final period, but it was Los Angeles who turned up the heat. Nabokov's shutout bid ended at 10:26 of the period when Lubomir Visnovsky threw the puck on net, bouncing it off Mike Grier's shin guard. The puck changed directions enough to catch the inside of the right post.

A Mark Bell hooking penalty two minutes later setup an uneasy situation for San Jose, allowing the Kings to breath some like into their game. Craig Conroy narrowly missed on a bouncing puck in front of an open net, but the Kings still applied pressure throughout the period in an attempt to pull even with San Jose.

A Brian Willsie hooking penalty with less than two minutes to play cost the Kings any chance to leverage an extra attacker by pulling Cloutier.

"They were putting the pressure on," Nabokov said about the Kings' late flurry. "They were making our defense work. We knew they were going to come out harder."


The home and home continues on Thursday in San Jose, when the same two teams square off for the fifth time this season. San Jose leads the series 3-1 in the four games played to date.

Defenseman Kyle McLaren was scratched so that he could attend to his lower body injury suffered last week. McLaren played Monday night against the Phoenix Coyotes after missing the previous two games because of the injury.

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1 2 3 T
SJ 1 1 1 3
LA 0 0 1 1
1st period - 1, SJ, Bernier 10 (Carle, Ehrhoff), 13:23.
2nd period - 2, SJ, Pavelski 6 (Rissmiller), 8:59.
3rd period - 3, SJ, Pavelski 7 (Thornton, Cheechoo), 4:43, (pp). 4, LA, Visnovsky (Kopitar, Murray), 10:26.
1st period - Gorges, SJ (tripping), 0:38; Miller, LA (hooking), 5:51; Davison, SJ (cross checking), 9:40; Cowan, LA (high sticking), 9:40; Murray, LA (holding), 12:56.
2nd period - Davison, SJ (holding), 1:04; Team, SJ (too many men), 6:51; Avery, LA (interference), 10:20; Pavelski, SJ (hooking), 12:23.
3rd period - Harrold, LA (hooking), 2:47; Avery, LA (tripping), 4:01; Bell, SJ (hooking), 12:18; Thornton, LA (tripping), 14:20; Willsie, LA (hooking), 18:40.
  Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 37 36
LA - Cloutier 31 28
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 9 7 15 31
LA 12 20 5 37
Power Play Conversion
SJ 2 of 7
LA 0 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Evgeni Nabokov
Joe Pavelski
Dan Cloutier
Referees: Gord Dwyer, Bill McCreary. Linesmen: Shane Heyer, Jay Sharrers.

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