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Fans appreciate effort
SJ rolls Kings in home finale
4/1/08 - by Mike Lee

The Sharks paid tribute to their fans on Tuesday night in the regular season home finale by keeping their foot on the gas. With the 2nd spot in the Western Conference locked up, San Jose played with vigor on offense in a 5-2 pasting of the visiting Los Angeles Kings at HP Pavilion. Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov coasted to his 46th victory of the season by making 16 saves, helping the Sharks to a franchise record 108 points. Patrick Marleau and Brian Campbell each had a goal and an assist in the win, which kicks off a home-and-home series with Los Angeles.

Sprinkled between the jersey giveaways and free concert tickets were a flurry of goals that exposed the cellar-dwelling Kings, who hold the worst record in the NHL. The white-hot Sharks continued to expand on their point scoring streak, which stretched to 20 games.

Part of San Jose's hot hand can be attributed to scoring first in games, which they did again on Tuesday night for the 54th time this season. It took the Sharks the better part of the 1st period to get the job done, even though they out-shot the Kings 13-3 in the period. Mike Grier scored with 10 ticks left before the 1st intermission, with his 9th goal of the season.

Patrick Rissmiller sent in a shot from the right point, hitting a Kings defender out in front of Los Angeles goaltender Erik Ersberg. The rebound kicked out to Grier in the high slot, where the Sharks forward whipped a shot inside the right post for the 1-0 lead.

Matt Ellis gave the Sharks a power play early in the 2nd period, but Patrick Sullivan turned the tables on San Jose with a short-handed breakaway goal on the ensuing power play after Campbell turned the puck over just outside the Kings blueline.

With Ellis still in the box, Marleau would get the goal right back with his 18th goal of the season at 2:03 of the period. San Jose capitalized on a clearing attempt by O'Sullivan that hit Jeremy Roenick just inside the Kings blueline after Roenick carried the puck into the Los Angeles zone but fell to the ice. The deflected puck bounced over to Marleau, who was skating toward the Kings goal. Marleau ripped a shot from between the circles that beat Ersberg for the 2-1 lead.

Raitis Ivanans knotted the game up at 2-2 a little under 5 minutes later after the Sharks on sloppy on defense. Alexander Frolov worked the puck behind the Sharks net, then setup an Ivanans one-timer from the slot after Matt Carle and Rissmiller failed to seal off the zone.

Defensive sloppiness aside, the Sharks went to work on Ersberg.

Milan Michalek would put the Sharks on top for good with a shot similar to Ivanans', after Joe Thornton setup the tally with a feed from behind the right post. The assist was Thornton's 300th point as a Shark.

Curtis Brown extended his goal scoring streak to three consecutive games, by pumping a shot from the high slot at 16:30 of the 3rd period. Kings defenseman Jon Klemm failed to move the puck out of his own zone, first turning it over to Ryane Clowe, then bouncing a clearing attempt weakly off the glass where it was intercepted by Jody Shelley. Shelley slid a drop pass between his skates to Brown who didn't have a defender within 25 feet of him.

The Kings allowed their frustrations to boil over late in the game. First Derek Armstrong took exception to a check by Clowe and went after him by leaving his feet with a check with 3 minutes left in regulation. As a scrum broke out, Shelley and Ivanans joined Armstrong in the penalty box for roughing.

Someone on the Kings bench let the referees have it verbally, which drew a bench minor for abuse of an official. That gave the Sharks a 5-on-3 and a stranglehold on the game.

Campbell would convert with a shot from the high slot after Carle and Marleau both put shots on Ersberg.

Game Notes:

Former Shark Scott Thornton received a nice ovation from the crowd after a shot of him on the bench was displayed on the center ice video screen along with his stats as a Shark. Thornton acknowledged the crowd after a nudge from a teammate sitting next to him. His cousin Joe also received an ovation after cameras picked him up on the bench following his assist on Michalek's goal. The sellout crowd began chanting "MVP!" after Thornton waved to the crowd.


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1 2 3 T
LA 0 2 0 2
SJ 1 2 2 5
1st period - 1, SJ, Grier 9 (Rissmiller, McLaren), 19:49.
2nd period - 2, LA, O'Sullivan 21 (unassisted), 0:57, (sh). 3, SJ, Marleau 18 (Roenick, Campbell), 2:03, (pp). 4, LA, Ivanans 5 (Frolov, Armstrong), 6:56. 5, SJ, Michalek 24 (Thornton, Clowe), 14:06.
3rd period - 6, SJ, Brown 5 (Shelley), 16:30. 7, SJ, Campbell 8 (Carle, Marleau), 18:59, (pp).
1st period - Ivanans, LA (fighting major), 6:42; Shelley, SJ (fighting major), 6:42; Blake, SJ (holding), 12:45.
2nd period - Ellis, LA (slashing), 0:31; Handzus, LA (hooking), 10:08; McLaren, SJ (tripping), 16:25; Blake, LA (interference), 19:07.
3rd period - Willsie, LA (high sticking), 10:14; Armstrong, LA (roughing), 17:03; Ivanans, LA (roughing), 17:03; Bench, LA (abuse of officials), 17:03; Shelley, SJ (rouhing), 17:03.
Shots Saves
LA - Ersberg 34 29
SJ - Nabokov 18 16
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
LA 3 9 6 18
SJ 13 9 12 34
Power Play Conversion
LA 0 of 1
SJ 2 of 8
3 Stars of the Game
Milan Michalek
Patrick Marleau
Brian Campbell
Referees: Dwyer, Maier. Linesmen: Cvik, Galloway.

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