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Hot goaltending stumps Sharks
SJ's road streak snapped at 4
1/28/07 - by Mike Lee

In a tale of two goaltenders, Vancouver Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo has been unstoppable the past month, doing everything he needs to win. Evgeni Nabokov of the Sharks plays just well enough to lose, or so his 12-11 record would attest. With one of the most potent offenses in the league, Nabokov has failed to parlay that factor into winning decisions this season. Luongo stopped 39 of 40 shots the Sharks threw at him on Sunday night to steal a 3-1 win, while Nabokov allowed a two minute lapse in the 2nd period to cost him and the Sharks a 5th consecutive road victory.

Luongo single handedly repelled the Sharks pressure, stopping 22 shots in the 2nd period, including two circus stops on point blank shots. His lunging save on a sure goal by Marcel Goc set the tone for the surging Canucks, who have gone 11-1-2 in the last month.

Mark Smith and Tomal Plihal missed on would be goals in the opening period, failing to convert San Jose's ownership of the Canucks zone in the period. Luongo helped his defense extend its supremacy on the penalty kill by stopping all five man-advantage chances the Sharks had on the night.

The Sharks held a brief lead after Joe Pavelski converted on a prayer a minute into the 2nd period. After Milan Michalek bounced a long range shot off of Luongo, Pavelski fought off Canucks defender in the slot and swatted at the puck as he was being checked to the ice. The bang-bang play left no opportunity for Luongo to anticipate the shot.

Tyler Pyat would knot things up at 1-1 midway through the period on a botched defensive play by the Sharks. With Pavelski in the box to serve a holding penalty, Marcus Naslund sent a 40-foot pass to Pyatt who slipped past the Sharks defense at San Jose's blueline. Pyatt skated in uncontested on Nabokov and easily snapped his 14th goal of the season home.

Nabokov would get little help from his defense a little more than two minutes later when Daniel Sedin flipped a shot over the Sharks goaltender's shoulder. Sedin was left to roam behind the Sharks net and sent the shot in from just outside the right post.

Vancouver went into clamp down mode in the final 20 minutes of play, limiting the Sharks to just 6 shots on goal. The closest San Jose came was during a frantic rush with less than three minutes play, sustaining control of the puck in the Vancouver zone, but they failed to get any quality scoring chances on net.

Brendan Morrison added a late empty net goal after Sharks head coach Ron Wilson pulled Nabokov with a minute to play.

The victory vaulted the Canucks into 1st place in the Northwest Division. The loss snapped a 4-game road winning streak for the Sharks, who also dropped back to a 4 point deficit in the Pacific Division after The Anaheim Ducks beat the Dallas Stars on Sunday.

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1 2 3 T
SJ 0 1 0 1
EDM 0 2 1 3
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, SJ, Pavelski 10 (Michalek, Ehrhoff), 1:10. 2, VAN, Pyatt 14 (Naslund, Bieksa), 12:31, (pp). 3, VAN, D. Sedin 18 (Pyatt, H. Sedin), 14:49.
3rd period - 4, VAN, Morrison 12 (Nalund), 19:50, (en).
1st period - Tremblay, VAN (holding), 1:21; Smith, SJ (hooking), 12:05; Gog, SJ (roughing), 12:05; Burrows, VAN (roughing), 12:05; Carle, SJ (hooking), 17:16.
2nd period - Morrison, VAN (hooking), 5:00; Green, VAN (tripping), 6:45; Pavelski, SJ (holding), 11:15; Goc, SJ (roughing), 15:31; Burrows, VAN (roughing), 15:31.
3rd period - Morrison, VAN (holding), 2:41; Pavelski, SJ (tripping), 6:40; Burrows, VAN (holding), 10:37.
  Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 23 21
VAN - Luongo 40 39
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 11 22 6 40
VAN 9 9 6 24
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 5
EDM 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Roberto Luongo
Tyler Pyatt
Marcus Naslund
Referees: Gord Dwyer, Kerry Fraser. Linesmen: Lonnie Cameron, Ryan Galloway.

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