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Potent Penguins smothered
Sharks all business in 2-1 win
10/28/08 - By Mike Lee

Surrendering 14 goals during a three game stretch last week was apparently a reality check for some Shark players. Tuesday night's smothering of the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins was validation that many of those same players took head coach Todd McLellan's advice when he suggested more focus on the defensive side of the puck. Playing keep away from the opposition worked as well, as the Sharks dominated Pittsburgh in a 2-1 win at HP Pavilion.

A constant flow off offensive pressure, especially at center ice, kept Pittsburgh's top line of Sydney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Ruslan Fedotenko in check all night.

The Sharks allowed a mere 11 shots on goal, and the lone shot that made its way past Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov came with 5 minutes to play in the contest. Fedotenko chipped a feed from Crosby after Evgeni Malkin helped cycle the puck behind the Sharks net. It was the one blemish on an otherwise jaw dropping performance by the Sharks.

Aside from out-shooting the opposition 34-11, San Jose also dominated in the faceoff circle, where they held a 2-to-1 advantage on draws. Joe Thornton won 12 of 13 faceoffs for an incredible 92% conversion rate, many coming against Crosby the NHL's poster boy.

Pittsburgh had an early scoring chance from Matt Cooke late in the 1st period and a Pascal Dupuis slapper 2 minutes into the middle frame, but that was it. Nabokov expended the more energy slapping his stick on the ice to signal Penguins existing the penalty box, then he did blocking shots.

Dany Sabourin got a rare start in net for Pittsburgh, and was a big reason the Penguins stayed within striking distance through out the night. His biggest stop of the night came on a Dan Boyle one-timer with 9 minutes remaining in the 2nd period.

Devin Setoguchi drove to the net, before sliding a backhand pass to Boyle near the right dot. Boyle unloaded a shot that seemed destined for the back of the net, but a diving Sabourin gloved the chance to keep the Sharks within a goal.

San Jose took the early 1-0 lead on a short-handed tally by Joe Pavelski at 10:12 of the opening period. Penguins defenseman Alex Goligoski coughed up the puck at his own blueline after Malkin tripped along the boards in front of Pittsburgh's bench.

Milan Michalek grabbed the loose puck and raced in on Sabourin, putting a shot on net. Sabourin made the stop, but the puck parked itself in the crease unattended for Pavelski, who punched home the easy goal.

The goal was San Jose's 5th of the season while on the penalty kill.

Patrick Marleau narrowly missed on a chance later in the period, bouncing a shot off the right post. It would be the first of two Marleau shots to hit iron on the night.

Marleau would help play a role in the Sharks second goal of the night with 7 minutes to play in the contest after the Penguins shot themselves in the foot. Ryane Clowe took an ill-timed hooking penalty to put the Penguins on the man-advantage, but Fedotenko would even things up with an interference penalty of his own 26 seconds later. On the ensuing 4-on-4, the Sharks captain won the Pittsburgh zone with the puck before cycling back to the front of the net to create some traffic in front of Sabourin.

Penguins defenseman Darryl Sydor was so preoccupied with Marleau in front of his goaltender, that he left Mike Grier to roam free in the slot. Grier took a feed from Christian Ehrhoff 15 feet out, before sending a backhand chance past the glove of Sabourin for the 2-0 lead.

The goal would prove huge when Fedotenko scored less than 2 minutes later.

Cooke would seal his team's fate by taking a high-sticking penalty with 1:49 to play. Pittsburgh head coach Michel Therrien was forced to pull Sabourin in order to force the play in the Sharks zone, but the Penguins couldn't generate get the puck anywhere near Nabokov.

Games Notes:

Sharks prospect Jamie McGinn made his NHL debut for the Sharks, seeing 5:35 of ice time on 7 shifts. He was credited with a missed shot, a hit and a giveaway. The Sharks scratched Marcel Goc in his place. Maxime Talbot and Hal Gill were scratches for Pittsburgh. Gill is nursing a sore hand. The 11 shots on goal against set a new Sharks franchise record for fewest shots allowed in a game. Ehrhoff and BOyle extended their point scoring streaks to 5 games.



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Scoring
1 2 3 T
PIT 0 0 1 1
SJ 1 0 1 2
1st period - 1, SJ, Pavelski 4 (Michalek), 10:12, (sh).
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 2, SJ, Grier 1 (Ehrhoff, Boyle), 12:52. 3, PIT, Fedotenko 2 (Crosby, Malkin), 14:27.
Penalties
1st period - Godard, PIT (fighting major), 2:24; SHelley, SJ (fighting major), 2:24; Satan, PIT (tripping), 2:38; Blake, SJ (tripping), 9:48.
2nd period - Malkin, PIT (hooking), 1:52; Dupuis, PIT (tripping), 7:14.
3rd period - Crosby, PIT (hooking), 8:52; Clowe, SJ (hooking), 11:12; Fedotenko, PIT (interference), 11:38; Cooke, PIT (high sticking), 18:11.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
PIT - Sabourin 34 32
SJ - Nabokov 11 10
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
PIT 3 5 3 11
SJ 6 19 9 34
Power Play Conversion
PIT 0 of 2
SJ 0 of 6
3 Stars of the Game
Joe Pavelski
Joe Thornton
Dany Sabourin
Attendence
17,496
Officials
Referees: Morton, Shick. Linesmen: Wheeler, Nelson.

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