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Wild about shootouts
SJ blows 3rd period lead, still wins
3/19/08 - by Mike Lee

The Sharks had so much fun coughing up a lead in the final minute of a game against the Minnesota Wild, then winning it in the shootout, that they decided to do it twice in the last 10 days. The only difference between Wednesday nights game and the game on March 9th was the location and the color of the jerseys. Marion Gaborik tied the game with 29 seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime, and Jeremy Roenick scored the game winner in the shootout to help San Jose clinch a playoff spot.

Having played less than 24 hours earlier in Los Angeles, the Sharks were primed for a stinker. The Wild's no-tempo style of play also tend to bog games down to a crawl. It took the better part of the 1st period for the Sharks to get things into gear.

Minnesota had the first quality scoring chance when Gaborik took off on a breakaway at the 7 minute mark of the period. Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov came up huge with a big save, turning aside Gaborik's shot with his right leg pad.

Jeremy Roenick would get the Sharks on the board with his 12th goal of the season at 17:54 of the period. The veteran winger converted on a 3-on-1 break after taking a pass from Patrick Marleau. The goal was Roenick's 507th career tally.

Stephane Veilleux would tie the game 49 seconds into the 2nd period on a nifty piece of stick work. Wild defenseman Kurtis Foster sent a pass to the area between the circles from the right point, where Veilleux deflected the pass past Nabokov.

The Wild would lose Foster later in the period, to an apparent leg injury that required him to be taken off on a stretcher after he got tangled up with Sharks center Torrey Mitchell on an icing play. Mitchell hit Foster from behind as the two were chasing puck near the Minnesota end boards.

Paramedics put a splint on Foster's leg, then removed him via a back board. The consummate professional Roenick, gave Foster a tap on the chest along with some words of encouragement as they carried the Wild defenseman off the ice.

Curtis Brown returned to the Sharks lineup after missing 26 games with a hand injury, and responded by scoring his 2nd goal of the season at 3:28 of the period. Brown took a feed from Roenick near the right dot, the lifted a backhand shot past Minnesota goaltender Niklas Backstrom.

Gaborik would tie the game at 2-2 just before the 6 minute mark of the 3rd period after Joe Thornton was sent off for cross checking. Gaborik one-timed a Brent Burns pass past Nabokov from the top of the right circle.

Play turned chippy as the period progressed, but referees Chris Lee and Brad Watson let the two teams play. Mitchell took a stick to the face that went uncalled, and Mike Grier limped off the ice after absorbing a late hit at center ice.

With time winding down in regulation, Milan Michalek and Joe Pavelski hooked up on the go-ahead goal with 2:02 left. Michalek forced a turnover with a strong forecheck behind the Wild net, then slid a pass to Pavelski just outside the left post. Pavelski had to spin to his left to setup the shot, which deflected off Wild defenseman Kim Johnsson's stick. The puck floated over Backstrom's right shoulder and into the goal.

Minnesota head coach Jacues Lemaire pulled Backstrom with a minute left, then got a gift from Lee who called a marginal hooking penalty on Christian Ehrhoff with 38 seconds remaining.

Minnesota wasted no time knotting the game up on the ensuing power play, when Gaborik knuckled a shot from the left point that seemed to fool Nabokov. The puck floated past Nabokov and into the Sharks goal for the 3-3 tie.

The overtime featured everything except a game-ending goal. Sharks defenseman Doulas Murray leveled Pierre-Marc Bouchard with an open-ice hit in the first minute. Burns would earn a trip to the penalty box for cross checking Brown, but the Sharks forward retaliated with a slash and joined Burns in the sin bin. That setup a full 2 minutes of 3-on-3 play, but neither team could capitalize.

Marleau had the best scoring chance with a breakaway with a minute left, but his shot sailed wide.

In the shootout, Pavelski snapped a shot that beat Backstrom to the upper left corner, then Burns evened things up put a shot on the 5-hole that barely trickled over the goal-line.

Marleau missed on a shot that Backstrom stopped with blocker save, but Gaborik missed when Nabokov poke checked the puck, then rejected a second chance with a pad save.

Roenick would put the Sharks up 2-1 by chipping a shot through Backstrom's 5-hole. Nabokov ended things by stopping Mikko Koivu, who tried to go to the backhand. Nabokov made a nice glove save with his left skate pinned against the right post.

Game Notes:

Defenseman Kyle McLaren was back on the shelf, nursing his knee. Matt Carle replaced McLaren in the lineup. Marcel Goc earned a trip to the press box with Brown returning to the lineup.


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1 2 3 OT SO T
MIN 0 1 2 0 0 3
SJ 1 1 1 0 1 4
1st period - 1, SJ, Roenick 12 (Marleau, Brown), 17:54.
2nd period - 2, MIN, Veilleux 11 (Foster, Radivojevic), 0:49. 3, SJ, Brown 2 (Roenick, Shelley), 3:28.
3rd period - 4, MIN, Gaborik 37 (Burns, Rolston), 5:49, (pp). 5, SJ, Pavelski 17 (Michalek), 17:58. 6, MIN, Gaborik 38 (Rolston, Koivu), 19:31, (pp).
Overtime - None.
Shootout - SJ: Pavelski (goal), Marleau (miss), Roenick goal). MIN: Burns (goal), Gaborik (miss), Koivu (miss).
1st period - Boogard, MIN (fighting major), 8:10; Shelley, SJ (fighting major), 8:10; Sheppard, MIN (hooking), 9:34.
2nd period - Mitchell, SJ (tripping), 5:18; Koivu, MIN (hooking), 12:02.
3rd period - Thornton, SJ (cross checking), 5:28; Ehrhoff, SJ (hooking), 19:20.
Overtime - Burns, MIN (cross checking), 1:52; Brown, SJ (slashing), 1:52.
Shots Saves
MIN - Backstrom 33 30
SJ - Nabokov 24 21
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
MIN 7 7 9 1 24
SJ 7 16 8 2 33
Power Play Conversion
MIN 2 of 3
SJ 0 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Curtis Brown
Jeremy Roenick
Marion Gaborik
Referees: Watson, Lee. Linesmen: Mach, Schacte.

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