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Nabokov's hot hand continues
SJ beats Oilers with continuous pressure
3/11/07 - by Mike Lee

Evgeni Nabokov continued his hot hand, albeit against a much depleted Edmonton Oilers roster on Sunday afternoon at HP Pavilion. Nabokov turned aside 22 shots en route to his 3rd shutout in the past four games, and 7th of the season. A Steve Bernier goal held up for the San Jose, who would end up knocking off the visiting Oilers 3-0. The Sharks played well enough to win, but failed to bury a tail-spinning Oilers team early.

San Jose game plan was simple, but it took a while to wear down the Oilers. Sustained pressure and solid play in the defensive zone was the recipe. Edmonton entered the game having lost six straight following the trade of Ryan Smythe, the team's heart and soul. The pickings should have been easy for the Sharks, especially after the Ducks softened the Oilers up on Friday night with a 5-1 thumping.

Minus Smyth and a platoon of injured regulars Petr Nedved, Ales Hemsky, Marty Reasoner, Steve Staios and Jan Hejda, the Oilers have been forced to call up several prospects to fill the void.

The Sharks got the puck in the net midway through the period, but what appeared to be Jonathan Cheechoo's 24th goal of the season, but officials ruled that the Sharks forward kicked the puck into the net.

Steve Bernier opened the scoring with his 13th of the season 12:50 into the contest. Marc-Edouard Vlasic sent a shot in on goal from the blueline, hitting Danny Syvret in the chest. Positioned between Syvret and the goal, Bernier muscled around the Oilers defenseman to sweep the puck past Dwayne Roloson just inside the right post.

San Jose tried taking advantage of a young Oilers roster by stepping up the heat after Bernier's goal. Both Craig Rivet and Patrick Rissmiller bounced shots off metal. Rissmiller's just missed padding the Sharks lead before intermission, ringing a shot off the right post after beating Roloson.

An up tempo flow continued in the 2nd period, with the Sharks controlling much of the play. Edmonton had few chances in the first 10 minutes until Zachery Stortini flubbed a wide open net at the 10 minute mark. Nabokov dove to his left to deflect the misfired puck as it dribbled to the goal-line.

Jonathan Cheechoo had two unobstructed chances, but he elected to take slap-shots from outside of 20 feet that Roloson smothered. Roloson's ability to control rebounds denied the Sharks any real chance to capitalize on their perimeter shooting.

More of the same carried into the 3rd period. Vlasic just missed on an open-net chance when Patrick Marleau set him up with a nice pass after drawing three defenders to the slot. Vlasic was pinching along the right wing, but pushed his one-timer right of the goal.

The hard work finally paid dividends with 3:51 to play when Kyle McLaren rifled a shot past Roloson from the point. Rissmiller and Curtis Brown were credited with assists, but Mike Grier created the chance by screening Roloson.

Matt Carle would add an empty-net goal later after Craig MacTavish pulled Roloson. The Sharks gained the zone then worked the puck around the perimeter before Carle fired it through traffic to the unattended goal.


The Sharks reassigned goaltender Dimitri Patzold to Worcester before the game. Vesa Toskala was moved back onto the roster from the injured reserve.

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1 2 3 T
EDM 0 0 0 0
SJ 1 0 2 3
1st period - 1, SJ, Bernier 13 (Vlasic, Clowe), 12:50.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 2, SJ, McLaren 5 (Rissmiller, Brown), 16:09. 3, SJ, Carle 10 (Rivet, Thornton), 19:20, (pp, en).
1st period - Carle, SJ (hooking), 6:02; Stortini, EDM (charging), 10:08.
2nd period - Pouliot, EDM (tripping), 14:01.
3rd period - Syvret, EDM (tripping), 18:43.
  Shots Saves
EDM - Roloson 30 28
EDM - empty net10
SJ - Nabokov 22 22
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
EDM 9 9 4 22
SJ 10 12 9 31
Power Play Conversion
EDM 0 of 1
SJ 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Evgeni Nabokov
Steve Bernier
Craig Rivet
Referees: Dan Marouelli, Rob Shick. Linesmen: Shane Heyer, Pierre Racicot.

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