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SJ clinches playoff spot in Anaheim
Nabby shut out Ducks
3/15/09 - By Mike Lee

The Sharks offensive woes continued in Anaheim on Sunday night, but with a healthy Evgeni Nabokov between the pipes, that didn’t seem to matter. Nabokov turned aside all 34 shots he faced en route to his sixth shutout of the year in a 1-0 nail biter at the Honda Center. The win pushed the Sharks to the 100-point mark, but more importantly it secured a playoff spot and showed that the Sharks could win on the road.

Outside of a catastrophic collapse over the last month of the season, a return to the playoffs was a forgone conclusion, but Nabokov ended that suspense with save after save. After missing eight games, he’s given up a single goal his last two games.

After playing less than 24 hours earlier, it wasn’t surprising that the Sharks had little jump in their step to open the game. The Ducks did little to take advantage, although they did outshoot the sharks 12-7 in the open 20 minutes. The highlight of the period was a scrap between Jody Shelley and George Parros. The Ducks enforcer cut Shelley with a couple of quick rights before both players lost their balance and went down.

While Nabokov continued to keep the puck out of the San Jose net, Jonas Hiller matched him shot for shot. The Sharks just missed on a chance midway through the 2nd period after Marcel Goc skated up the right wing and tried forcing a shot from outside the crease. The puck deflected out to Jonathan Cheechoo on the off wing, for a backhand chance that hit Hiller in the glove then bounced off the crossbar.

San Jose would finally get a shot past the Ducks goaltender with 62 seconds left in the 2nd period. Rookie right winger Jamie McGinn looped out of the left corner, before backhanding the puck toward the slot from the left wing boards. McGinn’s feed hit former Duck Travis Moen’s stick, lifting it into the air. The puck deflected off defenseman Ryan Whitney’s glove, knuckling past Hiller for the only score of the game.

Nabokov continued to stymie the Ducks, stoning Teemu Selanne on a scoring chance 4 minutes into the 3rd period. Selanne took a pass up the right wing and sent a one-timer toward the right post. Nabokov slid to his left and snared the shot.

Two big 3rd period penalties played key roles in the outcome of the game. First a Joe Pavelski holding penalty led to a close call for the Sharks. Cory Perry just missed on a scoring chance during the ensuing power play, but Nabokov stoned him as he crashed the crease. Frustrated by Nabokov’s stop, the Ducks forward took a couple of stabs at the back of Nabokov’s leg pad as the two lay crumpled in the crease. The move was met with immediate response from three Sharks positioned around the pair.

Sharks defenseman Alexei Semenov had a tough time staying out of the penalty box, making separate trips to the box in each three regulation periods. His interference penalty with 3:51 left in regulation, gave the Ducks one last shot at tying the game up, but Nabokov smothered everything that came his way.

Knowing it would probably be there last chance at knotting the game, Anaheim threw the kitchen sink at Nabokov while on the man advantage. A shot by Selanne from the right dot rang off the left post, narrowly missing the chance to extend the game to overtime. That would be followed by a Whitney chance that Nabokov rebuffed with a diving save.

Anaheim head coach Randy Carlyle was forced to pull Hiller in a last ditch effort to bag the equalizer. The move wouldn’t generate the scoring chance the Ducks would need, and thus adding another hit to Anaheim ’s playoff chances. The Ducks trail Edmonton by 3 points in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, but three other teams sit between the two.

Game Notes:

Highlights of Moen’s career in Anaheim was shown on the arena big screen. Moen acknowleged the 17,511 in attendance who gave Moen a standing ovation. It was the first time back in Anaheim for the left winger since he was traded to San Jose on March 4th. It was also the first time Moen saw his wife and new born son since he was traded.



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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 0 1 0 1
ANA 0 0 0 0
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, SJ, Moen 6 (McGinn), 18:58.
3rd period - None.
Penalties
1st period - Wisniewski, ANA (interference), 5:06; Shelley, SJ (fighting major), 9:10; Parros, ANA (fighting major), 9:10; Getzlaf, ANA (slashing), 12:25; Semenov, SJ (hooking), 15:09.
2nd period - Perry, ANA (hooking), 12:31; Semenov, SJ (roughing), 15:22.
3rd period - Christensen, ANA (interference), 1:02; Pavelski, SJ (holding), 7:21; Semenov SJ (interference), 16:09.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 34 34
ANA - Hiller 30 29
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 7 10 13 30
ANA 12 10 12 34
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 4
ANA 0 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Evgeni Nabokov
Jonas Hiller
Travis Moen
Attendence
17,511
Officials
Referees: Hasenfratz, O'Rourke. Linesmen: Heyer, Seitz.

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