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Implosion on the Isle
SJ blows 2 goal lead in the 3rd period
2/18/08 - by Mike Lee

If the Sharks plan on making a push for the Pacific Division crown, they'll need to start by finishing off opponents in the 3rd period. In what's become all too familiar lately, the Sharks blew another 3rd period lead on Monday afternoon, falling to the New York Islanders 3-2 at Veterans Colisseum. The Sharks allowed the Islnders to overcome a 2-0 deficit in the 3rd period, to stun the reeling Sharks.

The implosion started with an injury to goaltender Evgeni Nabokov midway through the game, but didn't manifest itself until the Sharks looked poised to break their 3-game losing streak.

The Sharks lost Nabokov midway through the period when Radek Martinek cranked a slapshot right off the cage on Nabokov's helmet. Nabokov immediately crumpled to the ice and ripped his helmet off. Kneeling on the ice, blood spewed from his face, until trainer Ray Tufts arrived with a towel. Tomas Greiss, who was called up Sunday night, replaced Nabokov.

Matt Carle saved a goal on the play by tying up Richard Park's stick as the Islanders forward attempted to stuff the puck into the empty net.

San Jose had two power play chances early on, but couldn't muster a single shot on goal on the first penalty. The Sharks put two shots on Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro on the second man-advantage, and Matt Carle came rang a shot off the right post, but special teams continued to falter.

New York just missed on a breakaway attempt at the midway point of the 1st period, but Jody Shelley was whistled for tripping on the play and Craig Rivet was called for cross checking after the whistle blew. Rivet took exception to Sean Bergenheim, who shot the puck into the net after the play had ended.

The Sharks defended the ensuing 5-on-3 by pressing at the blueline, never allowing the Islanders to establish presence in the Sharks zone.

Right after the two Shark penalties expired, Frederik Meyer and Aaron Johnson took simultaneous hooking penalties to give the Sharks their own full 2-minute 5-on-3. The 2-man advantage no less advantageous for the Sharks anemic power play, as San Jose squandered that chance.

Marcel Goc gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead 2:19 into the 2nd period, taking matters into his own hands. Stick-handling behind the Islanders net, Goc circled around the outside of the right post, before lifting a shot past DiPietro. Shelley created a diversion, planting himself in front of the crease while defenseman Bryan Berard tried to wrestle him away from DiPeitro.

Jonathan Cheechoo just missed on a scoring chance with 2:30 to play in the period. The sharks forward skated in uncontested to the left post, but DiPietro stacked his pads to deny the Sharks from going up 2 goals.

Nabokov would return to start the 3rd period, and the decision proved to be costly for the Sharks.

Joe Thornton would extend the Sharks lead to 2 goals with his 17th of the season at the 2:14 mark.

The wheels would then fall off and San Jose would kiss the game goodbye.

Andy Hilbert would score the first Islanders goal on a deflection off a Josef Vasicek shot at 3:22. It was a harmless play that Nabokov seemed to have a read on but Hilbert got enough of his stick on the puck to deflect it past the Sharks netminder.

The Sharks lead would last 59 seconds after Hilbert's goal, when Mike Comrie undressed Kyle McLaren in the slot, sliding the puck between the Shark defenders skates, before moving around him and beating Nabokov from 15 feet out.

Nabokov's day went from bad to worse at 11:19 of the period when he allowed a soft goal to Meyer. The Islanders forward simply skated in along the right wing boards and wrested a shot that sailed over Nabokov's right shoulder.

Douglas Murray added to the Sharks misery by getting thrown out of the game after boarding Eric Comeau with 6:20 remaining in regulation. Murray drew a 5-minute major, which essentially left San Jose short handed for all but the final minute and a half of the game. Murray deserved no more than a 2-minute minor on the play, but because Comeau had to be helped off the ice, referee Stephan Auger tossed Murray.

Game Notes:

Islanders head coach Ted Nolan missed the opening period as he attended to "personal business." He would return to the bench to start the 2nd period. Patrick Marleau missed his 4th consecutive game. The loss was the first this season for San Jose after holding a 2-0 lead in the 3rd period. Former Sharks defenseman Andy Sutton left the game with an apparent ham string injury late in the contest.

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1 2 3 T
SJ 0 1 1 2
NYI 0 0 3 3
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, SJ, Goc 5 (Roenick, Shelley), 2:19.
3rd period - 2, SJ, Thornton 17 (Michalek, Rivet), 2:14. 3, NYI, Hilbert 7 (Visicek, Guerin), 3:22. 4, NYI, Comrie 18 (Guerin, Hilbert), 4:21. 5, NYI, Meyer 2 (Guerin, Hilbert), 11:19.
1st period - Comrie, NYI (slashing), 2:04; Johnson, NYI (holding), 6:36; Shelley, SJ (tripping), 12:24; Rivet, SJ (cross checking), 12:24; Johnson, NYI (hooking), 14:46; Meyer, NYI (hooking), 14:46; Hunter, NYI (interference), 18:55.
2nd period - McLaren, SJ (roughing), 4:00; Cheechoo, SJ (roughing), 4:00; Sutton, NYI (roughing), 4:00; Cheechoo, SJ (hooking), 7:14; Guerin, NYI (slashing), 12:09; Cheechoo, SJ (hooking), 13:02.
3rd period - Carle, SJ (holding the stick), 5:31; Murray, SJ (boarding major), 13:28; Murray, SJ (game misconduct), 13:28; Ehrhoff, SJ (roughing), 18:35; Shelley, SJ (roughing), 18:35; Comrie, NYI (roughing), 18:35; Satan, NYI (roughing), 18:35.
Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 20 17
SJ - Greiss 1 1
NYI - Dipietro 30 28
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 7 12 11 30
NYI 5 4 12 21
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 6
NYI 0 of 6
3 Stars of the Game
Frederik Meyer
Mike Comrie
Rick DiPietro
Referees: Auger, McCreary. Linesmen: Henderson, Nelson.

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