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Road heals ills again
Kings denied 3rd straight win
12/26/07 - by Mike Lee

The road provided some much needed relief for the Sharks on Wednesday night, as the Sharks kicked off a 4-game stint away from HP Pavilion with a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center. Milan Michalek scored a pair of goals to lead the Sharks to their league best 13th win on the road this season.

Michalek scored his 11th goal of the season midway through the opening period to help the Sharks snap out of their duldrums. San Jose hadn't scored a 1st period goal in 5 games.

Joe Pavelski added his 8th of the season three minutes later on a backhand shot from outside the right post. Pavelski tried sliding the puck on net as he skated from behind the Kings net, when the puck bounced back to his stick. His shot sailed over Kings goaltender Jason Labarbera's left shoulder for teh 2-0 lead.

Pavelski's shot was on the 9th that Labarbera saw on the evening, and it would be his last. Kings head coach Marc Crawford quickly pulled Labarbera in place of Jean Sebastien Aubin.

Aubin calmed things down in the Kings defensive zone, which allowed the Kings to mount some offensive pressure. That pressure led to a stream of Sharks penalties early in the 2nd period.

After Christian Ehrhoff was sent off for cross checking, the Kings struck with a Rob Blake goal on the ensuing power play. Quick puck movement foced Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov to move laterally in the crease, opening a hole for Blake who cranked a shot from 40 feet into the Sharks goal.

Things got dicey for the Sharks with 2:40 remaining in the period, when defenseman Craig Rivet was assessed a match penalty for intent to injure Kings forward Ladislav Nagy.
Rivet was upset with a cross check that Nagy had dolled out, so the Sharks defenseman responded with his own cross check that came up on Nagy, catching him in the throat.

Rivet was tossed from the game, and teh Sharks were forced to kill offa 5-minute major.

The Sharks dodged that bullet, then struck back with Michalek's second goal at 3:24 of teh 3rd period.

San Jose seemed well in control of the game, until defenseman Matt Carle took an ill-advised slashing penalty with 33 seconds left in regulation.

After Aubin was pulled to give the Kings a 2-man advantage, Lubomir Visnovksy answered with the Kings second power play goal of the night just 5 seconds into Carle's penalty to cut the Sharks lead to a single goal.

Nabokov weathered the storm to preserve the victory, but the Sharks had to be wondering if they had almost let another win slip through their fingers with more late mistakes.

Game Notes:

Jonathan Cheechoo returned to the lineup after missing several games with a groin injury.

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1 2 3 T
SJ 2 0 1 3
LA 0 1 1 2
1st period - 1, SJ, Michalek 11 (Ozolinsh, Marleau), 9:02. 2, SJ, Pavelski 8 (Goc), 12:17.
2nd period - 3, LA, Blake 3 (Frolov, Nagy), 6:18, (pp).
3rd period - 4, SJ, Michalek 12 (Thornton, Ehrhoff), 3:24. 5, LA, Visnovsky 3 (Blake, Kopitar), 19:32, (pp).
1st period - Goc, SJ (roughing), 2:42; Visnovksy, LA (Roughing), 2:42; Stuart, LA (high sticking), 4:12; Team, SJ (too many men), 18:16.
2nd period - Blake, LA (cross checking), 2:41; Cheechoo, SJ (interference), 3:57; Ehrhoff, SJ (cross checking), 5:16; Thornton, SJ (roughing), 16:04; Johnson, LA (cross checking), 16:04; Rivet, SJ (match penalty), 17:20; Rivet, SJ (elbowing), 17:20; Nagy, LA (cross checking), 17:20.
3rd period - Blake, LA (high sticking), 5:23; Carle, SJ (slashing), 19:27.
Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 31 29
LA - Labarbera 9 7
LA - Aubin 22 21
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 11 12 8 31
LA 10 9 12 31
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 4
LA 2 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Milan Michalek
Christian Ehrhoff
Rob Blake
Referees: Mike Leggo, Rob Schick. Linesmen: Jay Sharrers, Shane Heyer.

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