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Uninspired performance still nets win
Sharks look flat, but prevail in the shootout
4/7/09 - By Mike Lee -

Playing down to your opposition was in full effect at HP Pavilion on Tuesday night. Squaring off against the Colorado Avalanche, third worst team in the NHL, San Jose turned in a lacsidasical performance, sleepwalking to a 1-0 win in the shootout. Ravaged by injuries, the Colorado roster has been a revolving door this season. The Avalanche started 4 rookie defensemen, who turned in a more spirited effort than San Jose , but it was the Sharks would take the win.

"I don't think it's that we disrespected our opponent tonight," said Sahrks head coach Todd McLellan. "I don't think we played that well. They did a very good job in defending us, getting above us. Making it difficult to enter their zone. We didn't handle it well early in the game. In the second period after we discussed it a little bit, we got going. We can play a lot better and we expect more from each other."

Both teams played uninspired hockey in the opening period, combining for a paltry 5 shots on goal, the lowest combined total for two teams in a period this season. Dan Boyle and Milan Hejduk both sent shots off the post, but that was the closest either team would come to the goal in the opening frame.

A tripping penalty to Ian Laperriere at 14:49 of the 2nd period gave the Sharks a power play that almost turned into a nightmare sequence for them. With the puck cycling in their own zone, Colorado gained control and caught Evgeni Nabokov out of the net. A shot by Wojtek Wolski rang off the post for the third time in the game for Colorado .

San Jose would squander the man-advantage, failing to get any sustained pressure on Avalanche netminder Peter Budaj. San Jose would put 16 shots in Budaj in the period, but nothing seemed to challenge him.

Cody McLeod had a golden opportunity to snap the 0-0 deadlock midway through the 3rd period, but Nabokov made a stellar save, sliding to his left to cut off a shot destined for the back of the net.

San Jose tried to counter a minute later, but Budaj got his left pad out to stop a Joe Pavelski chance from the right side of the net.

The forecheck for the Sharks began to step up play with 3 minutes to play in regulation, keeping the puck pinned in the Colorado zone. A late icing by the Avalanche forced Colroado head coach Tony Granato to call a timeout with 1:18 to play in order to rest the line that was forced to stay out on the ice. McLeod was whistled for slashing with 1:09 to play, setting up a gift for the Sharks. Jeremy Roenick, just missed on a chance in tight, when his chip shot was snared by Budaj as the puck floated through the crease.

50 seconds of the McLeod penalty carried into the overtime period, giving the Sharks a 4-3 advantage, but the chance was squandered by an uninspired power play.

Christian Ehrhoff split two defenders at 2:24 into the extra period to give the Sharks yet another power play chance, but again San Jose squandered the chance. Milan Michalek tried jamming a puck by Budaj with 4 second left in the penalty, but the Avalanche goaltender shut the door again.

"It was a pretty good game all the way around for a 0-0 game," said Avalanche head coach Tony Granato. "I thought it was very entertaining and I thought our guys had it played pretty darn solid all the way around to be in the game and we did. Obviously both goalies were extremely good. When you think of a 0-0 game you think it's a boring game. I didn't see the game as boring at all."

In the shootout, Pavelski snapped a shot past Budaj over the right shoulder. Wolski then shot the puck high. Jonathan Cheechoo put a shot into Budaj’s glove. Hejduk followed Wolski’s shot, missing the net wide. Roenick missed the net to extended the suspense. Nabokov out-waited rookie Chris Stewart to make the final save and give the Sharks an undeserved 2 points in the standings.

"As a team we talk about control… and we ARE in control," added McLellan. "It's where we want to be. But that doesn't means, the opposition we play against or the other teams we are battling with are just going to roll over and play dead. We don't expect that. We have to take care of our own business and we look forward to that opportunity on Thursday."

Game Notes:

The Sharks got a little roster relief, as Mike Grier and Claude Lemieux returned to action after spending extended stints on the injured list. Grier had is knee scoped and Lemieux was nursing a jaw injury.



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Scoring
1 2 3 OT SO T
COL 0 0 0 0 0 0
SJ 0 0 0 0 1 1
1st period - None.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - None.
Overtime - None.
Shootout - SJ: Pavelski (goal), Cheechoo (miss), Roenick (miss). COL : Wolski (miss), Hejduk (miss), Stewart (miss).
Penalties
1st period - Nabokov, SJ (delay of game – puck over glass), 2:51; Pavelski, SJ (holding the stick), 19:08.
2nd period - Shelley, SJ (roughing), 6:20; Vernace , COL (holding), 8:42; Laperriere , COL (tripping), 14:49.
3rd period - McLeod , COL (hooking), 0:53. McLeod, SJ (slashing), 18:51.
Overtime - Vernace , COL (tripping), 2:24.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
COL - Budaj 30 30
SJ - Nabokov 20 20
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
COL 3 7 9 1 20
SJ 2 16 5 7 30
Power Play Conversion
COL 0 of 3
SJ 0 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Peter Budaj
Evgeni Nabokov
Scott Hannan
Attendence
17,496
Officials
Referees: Martell, O'Rourke. Linesmen: Heyer, Cameron.

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