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Off'd in Jersey
Sharks lose 5th straight
2/20/08 - by Mike Lee

After posting one of the best road records in the league this season, the Sharks have suddenly decided to balance things up by opening their season long 8 game road trip by going 0-for-3. San Jose continued to turn in a discombobulated effort, allowing their opponent to dictate play and demonstrating no signs of the synergy that gave them the 2nd best road record in the league the first half of the season.

Sharks goaltender Eveni Nabokov sat out his 2nd game of the season after suffering a facial laceration on Monday against the Islanders. Rookie Tomas Greiss made his 2nd start of the season in net, and did little to make up for the poor defensive play in front of him.

As has been the case in every one of their losses on the road trip, San Jose grabbed the early lead, then rolled over. Jonathan Cheechoo scored his 16th of the season on a Sharks power play, just 35 seconds into the 2nd period. Patrick Marleau put the puck on net from the point, before Milan Michalek redirected the shot toward Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur. The puck bounced off the end boards then kicked back out toward Broduer, but Cheechoo got his stick on the puck to tap it into the wide open net.

Still believing they can win games with a single goal, the defense went on hiatus again, and the Devils made them pay. New Jersey jumped on the Sharks for three straight goals in the period, taking advantage of a team that has no answers right now.

Zach Parise tied the game at 7:56 after the Sharks made a series of mistakes in less than 2 seconds. First Jamie Langenbrunner turned Sharks defenseman Matt Carle around, beating him to a lose puck, then Greiss gambled on the play, thinking he could come out of the net to defend against a bouncing puck. Parise gathered up the puck and slid into the empty net after vaulting Greiss between the circles.

John Madden gave the Devils their first lead of the game with 3:04 remaining in the middle period after defenseman Douglas Murray tripped behind his own net. Paul Martin chipped the puck around Murray as he whipped around the left post. Madden scooped up the puck and tucked it inside the far post.

Sergei Brylin added another New Jersey goal a minute later to finish the 2nd period mauling. Brylin one-timed a Jay Pandolfo pass from the top of the right circle, while Murray and Marc-Edouard Vlasic skated aimlessly through in their own zone. Greiss got a piece of Brylin's shot, but it trickled past him into the Sharks net.

Kyle McLaren made thing interesting with a goal midway through the 3rd period to cut the Devils lead to a 3-2. The Sharks defenseman ripped a shot that fond its way past Brodeur courtesy of a Brian Gionta deflection. Jeremy Roenick setup the play by carrying the puck into the Devils zone before stopping along the left wing boards. Roenick then feathered a pass to McLaren in the high slot.

New Jersey did little to stop the Sharks over the last 4 minutes of regulation, but San Jose couldn't put together any sustained pressure. The puck seemed to find its way headed in the wrong direction whenever the Sharks penetrated the Devils zone.

When the Sharks did get a puck within 10 feet of the New Jersey net, an absence of white jerseys prevented any real scoring chance from manifesting itself.

Sharks head coach Ron Wilson pulled Greiss with a minute remaining, and the Sharks appeared to get the equalizer, but referee Gord Dwyer lost site of the puck and whistled the play dead. Roenick slammed his stick in disgust, then took a stick in the back from Brodeur who felt Roenick punched the puck home after the whistle. Brodeur them embellished a bump by Roenick to rally his teammates.

The Devils would kill the rest of the clock to send San Jose to their 5th consecutive loss of the season.

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1 2 3 T
SJ 0 1 1 2
NJ 0 3 0 3
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, SJ, Cheechoo 16 (Michalek, Marleau), 0:35, (pp). 2, NJ, Parise 24 (Laggenbrunner, Elias), 7:56. 3, NJ, Madden 16 (Brylin, Martin), 16:56. 4, NJ, Brylin 6 (Pandolfo, Elias), 18:06.
3rd period - 5, SJ, McLaren 2 (Roenick, Grier), 13:54.
1st period - Zubrus, NJ (hooking), 16:43; Vishnevski, SJ (interference), 18:39.
2nd period - Greene, NJ (closing hand on puck), 3:57.
3rd period - Gionta, NJ (tripping), 2:46; Thornton, SJ (interference), 10:36.
Shots Saves
SJ - Greiss 20 17
NJ - Brodeur 32 30
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 6 14 12 32
NJ 4 10 6 30
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 4
NJ 0 of 1
3 Stars of the Game
Sergei Brylin
Zach Parise
Patrick Elias
Referees: Dwyer, Peel. Linesmen: Nansen, Nelson.

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