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Clowe leads comeback over Blues
Nabokov injured in shootout win
11/6/08 - By Mike Lee

Playing behind the 8-ball late in their game against the visiting St Louis Blues on Thursday, the Sharks leaned on Ryane Clowe for a second straight game, and in doing so extended their home winning streak to 8 games. Clowe scored two goals, including the tying goal with 1:39 left in regulation, then would score the game winning goal in the shootout. The victory was tempered by an apparent injury to goaltender Evgeni Nabokov's left leg on the game's final play.

Nabokov stretched his left leg in an attempt to stop Patrick Berglund's shootout attempt. Berglund would miss the shot, ending the game, but Nabokov fell to the ice face down and stayed down until Sharks trainers came out to attend to him. He would skate off on one skate, and hobbled to the Sharks dressing room, clearly favoring his right leg.

The injury marred a gritty comeback that didn't exactly begin the way the Sharks had envisioned.

San Jose got off to an auspicious start after Alexei Semenov and Rob Blake were sent off for penalties a minute apart. St Louis would capitalize on the 5-on-3 advantage with Keith Tkachuck's 9th goal of the season. Lee Stempniak tried stuffing home a shot from outside the left post, but Nabokov got his pads in front of the shot. The puck kicked off Nabokov, rebounding right to Tkachuck at the top of the crease for the easy deposit.

The Blues would push their lead to 2-0 just 1:16 later on Stempniak's first goal of the season. Stempniak one-timed a Berglund feed from the left dot that beat Nabokov and put the Sharks on the their heels.

Joe Thornton cut the Blues lead in half with his 2nd goal of the season midway through the period. In a role reversal, Patrick Marleau carried the puck behind the Blues net, and setup Thornton who was parked in front of Blues rookie goaltender Ben Bishop. Bishop stands 6 foot 7, the tallest goaltender in NHL history.

Joe Pavelski appeared to tie the game early in the period with a blast that bounced off Bishop, but the lanky goaltender was able to reach back and grab the puck as it trickled toward the goal line.

That would change minutes later.

Rob Blake scored his first goal as a Shark at 7:07 of the middle period, tying the game at 2-2. The game came on the power play after Barret Jackman was sent off for hooking. Blake unleashed one of his patented howitzer shots from the point that ate up Bishop. The Blues goaltender got a piece of the puck, but the velocity carried it into the goal.

The Sharks dodged a bullet early in the 3rd period, after Milan Michalek was sent off for covering the puck with his hand. With the Blues on the power play, St Louis got the puck to the net. Nabokov lost sight of it, as it sat tucked against his left skate, inches from the goal line. Ryane Clowe got back to cover the puck with his stick until Nabokov could cover it.

Andy McDonald pushed the Blues back in front at 7:56 of the 3rd period with a sweet move around half the Sharks defense. Skating up the left wing, McDonald swept around the back of the goal with the puck. Drawing Nabokov to commit to the wrap-around chance, the Blues forward held the puck for a split second, before whipping a shot into the Sharks goal.

Clowe would answer a minute later on a put back after the Sharks threw the puck on net in traffic. Blake started the sequence from the point, then Jeremy Roenick chipped at it, before Clowe tapped it home. Clowe out-skated Roman Polak to the net, exacting some revenge on the St Louis defender who cut Clowe with a check from behind in to the glass earlier in the period.

The tie would be short lived. David Backes put the Blues right back in front with his 2nd goal of the season with 9:22 to play in regulation. Backes swatted a floating puck out of the air after Stempniak put a shot on goal from the high slot. Stempniak's shot hit Nabokov, then bounced waist high for Backes.

A flurry of penalties during a three minute stretch would turn the game upside down. After Dan Hinote and Jackman were set of, the Sharks had the 5-on-3 chance, but Jonathan Cheechoo would take a hooking penalty. Christian Ehrhoff and Polak would also join the penalty parade forcing the teams to skate 4-on-4.

The extra space on the ice worked in San Jose 's favor. Clowe would come to the rescue with 1:39 left in the period, lifting the puck into a wide open net from a tight angle from the right side. Taking a feed from Brad Lukowich, Clowe seemed to bobble the puck, but regained control and knotted things at 4-4.

Both teams opened things up in the overtime period, but neither could get the puck past the goaltending.

In the shoot out, Joe Pavelski shot the puck right left. McDonald followed with a backhand move that beat Nabokov. Roenick would stuff his shot into Bishop's pads to keep the Sharks goalless. Former Shark Brad Boyes went to backhand and lifted a shot high. Dan Boyle would whip a shot around Bishop to knot things up at 1-1. Nabokov stuffed David Perron to extend the shootout. Clowe would lead off the 4th round by snapping a shot past Bishop to put the sharks ahead. Berglund sent his shot wide right to give the Sharks the win.

Game Notes:

Sharks enforcer Jody Shelley missed the game because his wife gave birth to the couple's first child.


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Scoring
1 2 3 OT SO T
STL 2 0 2 0 0 4
SJ 1 1 2 0 1 5
1st period - 1, STL, Tkachuk 9 (Stempniak, Pietrangelo), 5:14, (pp). 2, STL, Stempniak 1 (Berglund, Perron), 6:30. 3, SJ, Thornton 2 (Marleau, Setoguchi), 9:24.
2nd period - 4, SJ, Blake 1 (Ehrhoff, Marleau), 7:07, (pp).
3rd period - 5, STL, McDonald 3 (Boyes, Jackman), 7:56. 6, SJ, Clowe 7 (Roenick, Blake), 9:03. 7, STL, Backes 2 (Stempniak, Berglund), 10:38. 8, SJ, Clowe 8 (Lukowich, Setoguchi), 18:21.
Overtime - None.
Shootout - SJ: Pavelski (miss), Roenick (miss), Boyle (goal), Clowe (goal). STL: McDonald (goal), Boyes (miss), Perron (miss), Berglund (miss).
Penalties
1st period - Semenov, SJ (roughing), 3:17; Blake, SJ (hooking), 4:20; Jackman, STL (interference), 11:01; McDonald, STL (tripping), 17:12.
2nd period - Brewer, STL (hooking), 1:11; Jackman, STL (hooking), 5:17; Cheechoo, SJ (hooking), 11:21; Backes, STL (10 min misconduct), 13:14; Murray, SJ (holding), 13:45; Boyes, STL (hooking), 14:33.
3rd period - Michalek, SJ (closing hand on puck), 0:53; Highnote, STL (hooking), 14:21; Cheechoo, SJ (hooking), 14:45; Jackman, STL (interference), 14:55; Ehrhoff, SJ (holding), 16:45; Polak, STL (tripping) 17:17 .
Goaltending
Shots Saves
STL - Bishop 43 39
SJ - Nabokov 29 25
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
STL 10 3 13 3 29
SJ 14 12 15 2 43
Power Play Conversion
STL 1 of 6
SJ 1 of 8
3 Stars of the Game
Ryane Clowe
Rob Blake
Lee Stempniak
Attendence
17,496
Officials
Referees: Devorski, Watson. Linesmen: Cvik, Sericolo.

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