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Bad Apples
No jump in lethargic loss
2/17/08 - by Mike Lee

If the Sharks have any plans on making a playoff run this season, they need to demonstrate that they can win under any condition. That would start by making the wake-up call on their 8-game east coast roadtrip. San Jose started off the trip with a 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers that turned out to be more snoozer than hockey game. With a 1pm EST start time, the Sharks never seemed to be fully awake in their 3rd consecutive loss.

San Jose scored the game's first goal, then went back to bed, allowing their hosts to out play them for 50 minutes. San Jose elected to open the game with physical play, but they quickly abandoned the approach after the Rangers matched them with a series of big hits.

A quick start was something the Sharks wanted to start the trip, and Jonathan Cheechoo obliged with his 15th goal of the year just 3:31 into the game. Cheechoo got a stick on a centering pass from Joe Thornton, who was parked behind the Rangers net. Cheechoo just got enough of the puck to direct it on net. Rangers defenseman Marek Malik helped guide the shot toward goaltender Henrik Lundqvist who couldn't get his glove hand down in time to prevent the goal.

Mike Grier missed on extending the Sharks lead midway through the period after Sharks rookie Tomas Plihal was sent to the box for holding. On the ensuing Rangers power play, Craig Rivet saw Grier breaking on a turnover in the Sharks zone. Grier raced up ice with the puck and shot the puck wide after getting slashed on the way to the net.

No penalty was called on the Rangers, which turned out to be the theme of the day. A hooking call on Jaromir Jagr later in the period would be the only penalty called on the Rangers all day.

As the physicality started to evaporate from the Sharks game, so went the momentum.

Ryan Callahan knotted the game at 1-1 8 minutes later on a bang-bang play in front of Evgeni Nabokov. Similar to Cheechoo's goal, Callahan poked in a centering pass from Chris Drury from 10 feet out. Plihal missed a defensive assignment, allowing Callahan to slide to the slot right in front of the goal uncontested.

Chris Drury made it 2-1 with his 19th goal of the season at 5:44 of the 2nd period after Patrick Rissmiller was sent off for delay of game. Drury simply took a pass on the right wing and cranked a 30 foot slap shot past Nabokov.

Nabokov deserved a better fate, keeping the Rangers in check, even though the defense in front of him gave up more scoring chances than should be expected for a team that focuses on the defensive aspects of the game.

Joe Pavelski and Jeremy Roenick both missed on the best scoring chances of the 3rd period.

New York went into prevent mode with 5 minutes to play, keeping 4 defenders back and sending a single forechecker to disrupt any offensive attacks. San Jose obliged by fumbling the puck in their own zone.

Sharks head coach Ron Wilson tried to pull Nabokov with 1:30 to play, but the puck kept ending up in the Sharks zone. Nabokov would finally reach the bench after Wilson pulled him while the Sharks were stumbling to get out of their own zone. Lundqvist snuffed any semblance of an attack with two routine stops.

Callahan would ice the game with 2 ticks left in regulation on an empty-net goal after Martin Straka sprung him with a pass from the right corner.

Game Notes:

Patrick Marleau missed his 3rd consecutive game with a groin injury. Douglas Murray returned to the lineup after missing 4 games with a hip pointer. Sandis Ozolinsh took Murray's spot in the press box, joining Rob Davison.

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1 2 3 T
SJ 1 0 0 1
NYR 1 1 1 3
1st period - 1, SJ, Cheechoo 15 (Thornton, Michalek), 3:31. 2, NYR, Callahan 4 (Drury, Shannahan), 11:34.
2nd period - 3, NYR, Drury 19 (Gomez), 5:44; Carle, SJ (slashing), .
3rd period - 4, NYR, Callahan 5 (Straka, Tyutin), 19:58, (en).
1st period - Plihal, SJ (holding), 9:26; Jagr, NYR (hooking), 12:55.
2nd period - Rissmiller, SJ (delay of game - puck over glass), 4:53.
3rd period - None.
Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 32 30
NYR - Lundqvist 30 29
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 11 7 12 30
NYR 13 11 9 33
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 1
NYR 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Ryan Callahan
Chris Drury
Henrik Lundqvist
Referees: O'Rourke, Walsh. Linesmen: Henderson, Recicot.

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