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Steady Nabokov blanks Avalanche
Netminder records 43rd carreer shutout
1/27/09 - By Mike Lee

With the glitz of the All Star Game behind the Sharks, it was time to get back to work on Tuesday night. Evgeni Nabokov turned in an All Star-like performance in a 3-0 shutout win over the host Colorado Avalanche in Denver . Nabokov turned aside 31 shots to earn his 43rd career shutout. Milan Michalek scored a pair of goals to help the Sharks cruise to their 35th win of the season.

The perfect evening was blemished by the absence of defenseman Dan Boyle, who returned to San Jose after the All Star Game on Sunday with an undisclosed upper body injury. Boyle is listed as day-to-day, but the Sharks were forced to call up defenseman Mike Moore from Worcester . Defenseman Derek Joslin was also recalled after skating in the AHL All Star game on Monday.

Former Shark defenseman Scott Hannan helped setup the first goal of the game, by taking a high sticking penalty 6:37 into the contest. San Jose would jump on the league’s 27th ranked penalty kill by converting at 8:15. Milan Michalek took a Christian Ehrhoff feed from the right corner and slipped a shot past Avalanche goaltender Andrew Raycroft.

Evgeni Nabokov preserved the Sharks lead with a spectacular save with 4:30 to play in the period on a point blank shot. Nabokov stopped Marek Svatos’ shot with his left pad, but was then forced to reach behind him and grab the puck as it headed for the goal line between his skates.

Defenseman Alexei Semenov turned up the heat, laying out two Colorado players with big hits. Semenov would draw Cody McLeod into taking a high sticking double minor, but the Sharks would squander the opportunity.

Michalek would add to the Sharks lead 1:31 into the 2nd period after Avalanche defenseman John-Michael Lilies fell at center ice, and allowed a 2-on-1 break. Michalek skated a Joe Pavelski pass up the right wing, then snapped a shot past Raycroft from the bottom of the right circle.

Colorado right wing David Jones was injured after Douglas Murray leveled him with a hit in front of the Avalanche bench. Jones immediately skated to the Colorado dressing room, suffering a shoulder injury. He did not return.

Miffed by the hit, Chris Stewart engaged Murray in a fight in order to exact a little revenge. The two tangled, but the bout was a draw, with neither player landing any decent punches.

Nabokov got a little help from Joslin after the Sharks netminder lost track of a shot that sat precariously in the crease. The youngster swept the puck out of danger just as an Avalanche player swooped in on net.

The Sharks coasted the rest of the evening, backed largely by Nabokov’s solid play and plenty of defensive support.

Avalanche head coach Tony Granato tried to muster some scoring by pulling Raycroft with a minute remaining in regulation, but Patrick Marleau wrapped things up with an empty net goal.

Game Notes:

It wasn’t all bad news on the injury front for the Sharks. Defenseman Rob Blake returned to the lineup after suffering a jaw injury against the Calgary Flames two weeks ago.

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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 1 1 1 3
COL 0 0 0 0
1st period - 1, SJ, Michalek 12 (Ehrhoff, Clowe), 8:15, (pp).
2nd period - 2, SJ, Michalek 13 (Pavelski), 1:31.
3rd period - 3, SJ, Marleau 26 (Plihal, Thornton), 19:22, (en).
Penalties
1st period - Hannan, COL (high sticking), 6:37; Semenov, SJ (hooking), 13:15; McLeod , COL (high sticking – double minor), 16:37.
2nd period - Murray , SJ (fighting major), 4:14; Stewart , COL (fighting major), 4:14; Michalek, SJ (hooking), 18:44.
3rd period - Bench, SJ (too many men), 4:08; Hannan, COL (hooking), 9:05.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 31 31
COL - Raycroft 37 35
COL - empty net 1 0
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 5 16 17 38
COL 9 10 12 31
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 4
COL 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Evgeni Nabokov
Milan Michalek
Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Attendence
14,592
Officials
Referees: O'Rourke, Sutherland. Linesmen: Henderson, Pare.

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