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More middle period scoring
Marleau bags a pair, Nabokov stops 38 shots in win
10/10/09 - By Mike Lee -

Another 2nd period offensive outburst helped propel the Sharks to a second consecutive win on Saturday night. Patrick Marleau scored a pair of goals, including a lightning strike just 9 seconds into the 3rd period to help San Jose overcome a sluggish start at HP Pavilion and knock off the Minnesota Wild 4-2. Evgeni Nabokov turned in his best performance of the season, turning aside 38 of 40 shots en route to his 3rd win of the season.

Marleau continued to enjoy some early season success, recording his 4th and 5th goals of the season, both coming as a result of up-tempo play by the former team captain. Marleau used a second chance to score his first goal after Jed Ortmeyer converted for San Jose 2:41 earlier.

"We certainly didn't start the way we wanted to," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. "I don't know if that was us or them. They did a really good job of holding us in our end, and they were quicker to loose pucks. As the game went on we found our legs and got a little rhythm."

Racing up the left wing, Marleau put a hard slap-shot on Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom from the outside of the left circle. Backstrom gave up a big rebound that Marleau chipped over the Minnesota goaltender on his continuation to the goal. The puck fluttered over Backstrom and into the Wild goal.

Marleau would provide some buffer room for the Sharks to open the 3d period by taking a simple feed from Rob Blake at his own blueline, then splitting two Wild defenders with a burst up the middle. With only Backstrom to beat, the Sharks center snapped the puck just over the Wild keeper's glove to convert San Jose's 4th consecutive goal of the game.

Former Sharks bench coach Todd Richards made his return to San Jose as the new head coach for Minnesota . Richards has implemented more offense into his game plan, which is a far cry from the defensive first style that the Wild implemented under former head coach Jacques Lemaire.

That style allowed the Wild to jump out to an early 2-0 lead, creating more flow with quick skating. That flow would create eight power play chances for Minnesota.

Andrew Brunnette gave Minnesota the lead with his 3rd goal of the season 6:59 into the contest by deflecting a Shane Hnidy blast.

A hooking call to Dany Heatley at 3:03 of the 2nd period would be exacerbated when rookie defenseman Jason Demers was simultaneously whistled for high sticking. The Sharks were able dodge the full 2-minute 5-on-3 when Wild forward Marek Zidlicky was whistled for hooking a minute later.

Nabokov would make a huge same on Kim Johnsson at 9:40 by stacking the pads on a one-time chance from the right side that seemed destined for the back of the San Jose net.

Jamie McGinn's second penalty of the evening would setup former Shark Owen Nolan's first goal of the season at 9:03 of the period. Nolan's shot from the left side deflected off defenseman Dan Boyle's stick, floating over Nabokov, who never saw the puck.

The Wild were skating at a disadvantage to start the period after losing Petr Sykora and Cal Clutterbuck to injury in the 1st period.

"They worked extremely hard, but it's tough when you go shorten up your bench like that," said Richards. "You're playing against a great team like San Jose, who has a lot of speed and can create a lot of things down low. But, I thought our guys continued to fight, continued to battle. We still generated some opportunities all the way to the final buzzer. So, I'm proud of the way the guys played tonight. It's disappointing obviously, we lose 4-2, but we did a lot of really good things."

Reminiscent of Thursday night's home opener, the Sharks would kick things into gear in the middle period.

Ortmeyer would score his first goal in teal at 11:51 on a one-time feed from Demers. Marleau chased down a puck in the left corner, before cycling it along the end boards to Demers, who pinched from the blueline. The rookie flipped the puck out to the slot, where Ortmeyer punched home the Sharks first tally.

After Marleau tied it at 13:56, the momentum had clearly swung.

Heatley made it 3-2 with a power play goal with 76 seconds remaining in the period, after Nolan was sent off for interference. Boyle sent a centering pass from the left wing boards to Healtey, who was parked in the slot. With two defenders flanking him, the Sharks winger powered a one-time chance past Backstrom and the Sharks were rolling.

Marleau's second tally of the night allowed the Sharks to focus more on suppressing the Wild offense, but Nabokov had to come up big late in the 3rd to preserve the lead.

Brent Burns almost single handedly put the Wild back in the game four minutes into the 3rd, after getting putting three shots on goal from in tight. Nabokov calmly turned each scoring chance aside.

He would then turn aside a 2-on-1 chance midway through the period by sliding to his right to cut off Kyle Brodziak's one-time chance. On the ensuing deflection Minnesota had a chance to score, but Manny Malhotra and Marc-Edouard Vlasic both slid in front of the empty net to block a Nolan back-hand chance.

McGinn would lay out Greg Zanon with just over 5 minutes to play with an open-ice hit behind the Wild net.

"I think (Nabokov) made some tremendous saves tonight," added McLellan. "He was very good at making big ones when we needed them, and gave us a chance to find our way in. I think he did his job in changing the momentum."

Game Notes:

Marleau's second goal tied the franchise record for the earliest goal from the start of the third period, also achieved by Bob Errey in a 5-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues on October 21, 1993 at Sacramento 's Arco Arena. Defenseman Kent Huskins earned his first point as a Shark, assisting on Marleau's goal in the second period. Jody Shelley also earned an assist on the goal, his first point of the season.


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1 2 3 T
MIN 1 1 0 2
SJ 0 3 1 4
1st period - 1, MIN, Brunnette 3 (Hnidy), 6:59.
2nd period - 2, MIN, Nolan 1 (Belanger, Zdlicky), 9:03, (pp). 3, SJ, Ortmeyer 1 (Demers, Marleau) 11:15. 4, SJ, Marleau 4 (Shelley, Huskins), 13:56. 5, SJ, Heatley 5 (Boyle, Thornton), 18:44, (pp).
3rd period - 6, SJ, Marleau 5 (Blake, Vlasic), 0:09.
1st period - McGinn, SJ (holding the stick), 2:03.
2nd period - Heatley, SJ (hooking), 3:03; Demers, SJ (high sticking), 3:03; Zidlicky, MIN (hooking), 4:16; Bench, SJ (too many men), 5:19; McGinn, SJ (holding), 7:46; Shelley, SJ (interference), 11:42; Johnsson, MIN (holding the stick), 14:35; Nolan, MIN (interference), 17:24.
3rd period - Johnsson, MIN (hooking), 7:08; Blake, SJ (hooking), 10:24; Ferriero, SJ (hooking), 14:40; Backstrom, MIN (hooking), 16:18.
Shots Saves
MIN - Backstrom 29 25
SJ - Nabokov 40 38
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
MIN 12 14 14 40
SJ 7 15 7 29
Power Play Conversion
MIN 1 of 8
SJ 1 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Evgeni Nabokov
Patrick Marleau
Jed Ortmeyer
Referees: Banfield, Kowal. Linesmen: Murray, Wheler.

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