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Sharks fans treated to goaltending clinic
Nabokov & Bryzgalov dazzle
12/28/09 - By Mike Lee -

Monday night’s Sharks showdown with the Phoenix Coyotes turned into a pre-Olympic goaltending demonstration for Team Russia. Evgeni Nabokov and Ilya Bryzgalov, both named to Russia ’s Olympic hockey team squared off at HP Pavilion and put on a combined clinic for the sellout crowd.

Bryzgalov turned aside 36 shots and Nabokov countered with 31 saves, but it was the Sharks netminder who stood tall in overtime, where he blanked a full 2-minute Coyotes power play, and then in the shootout, denying all three Phoenix shooters to take a 3-2 victory.

“I thought it was a heck of a game for both teams," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. "Goaltending…Bryzgalov and Nabby both showed why they are both Olympians. A tremendous game at both ends. The penalty kill for both sides was very sharp…very good. I thought it was a very intense game, A lot of battles a good game for us to play in. Nice to come out on the winning end of a shootout. We haven’t done that in a long time.”

The game made it to overtime after the Sharks blew a 2-0 2nd period lead, then failed to get the go-ahead goal in regulation, even though they out-shot Phoenix 19-6 in the 3rd period.

The Sharks scored only their second goal of the season in three games against Bryzgalov at 2:54 of the 1st period on a Devin Setoguchi put back from in tight. Frazer McLaren put the puck on net with Setoguchi parked in front of the Coyotes goaltender, creating a deflection down low. Setoguchi scooped up the loose puck and slipped it past Bryzgalov for hist 10th goal of the season.

"You gotta work and do the little things," said Setoguchi. "If you do that, you're going to get the ice time. You're going to get rewarded. When you lose track of the work and doing the little things, you find yourself not playing that much. I have to make sure that's what I'm doing every night."

Douglas Murray, the Sharks latest Olympian, knocked Petr Prucha into the Olympic break with a hit at the Sharks blueline midway through the period after the Coyotes winger skated into the Sharks zone with his head down.

Bryzgalov stole a goal from Joe Thornton with just over five minutes to play in the period by sliding to his right and snaring a one-time chance that was destined for the Phoenix net.

Setoguchi just missed bagging his second goal of the game with a minute left in the period after Joe Pavelski slid a pass to him in the slot. He would be checked into the corner boards and retaliate with a slash that put the Coyotes on the first power play of the game.

The Sharks would kill of the penalty, but Torrey Mitchell would put Phoenix back on the power play 4:13 into the 2nd period, negating a Sharks goal. Mitchell tried forechecking Keith Yandle behind the Coyotes net, knocking the Phoenix defender down with a leg whip. He would grab the puck and feed it into the slot for a one-time chance that beat Bryzgalov, but the whistle sounded, for Mitchell’s infraction.

I thought both teams played really hard," said Nabokov. "It was almost like a playoff game. A lot of scrums. A lot of hitting. A lot of battles around the net and on the boards. I thought we did a really good job."

Joe Pavelski would get that goal back on the ensuing Phoenix power play, by picking Yandle’s pocket at the Sharks blueline, then racing up ice and putting a backhand chance past Bryzgalov for the short-handed goal at 5:17.

Thornton almost made it two short-handed tallies on the on another short-handed try, but he raced up ice at the end of a shift and ran out of gas as sent a weak shot wide of the net.

“It was a very competitive game right from the get-go," said Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett. "The building was energized early, the fans were in it early and it was a very good game. We made a couple of mistakes to get behind but I like the way our guys played back into it.”

San Jose was buzzing after taking the two goal lead, but the Coyotes cut the San Jose lead in half when Ed Jovanovski sent a shot in from the blueline and was tipped past Evgeni Nabokov by Petr Prucha in front of the net.

A delay of game penalty to the Coyotes with four minutes left in the period setup a chance for the Sharks to extend their lead, but the power play misfired, and Phoenix countered as soon as the infraction expired.

Scottie Upshall served the penalty, and took a clearing puck at center ice and sliced into the Sharks zone before cutting across the slot. He slid a pass over to Shane Doan on he right post, where the Phoenix captain jammed it past Nabokov who was caught playing too far out of his net. Just like that, the Sharks 2-0 lead had evaporated.

"I think in the other two games we played against them I think they gave us a little more trouble than they did here tonight," added McLellan. "We have been working hard on coming out of our own end and theres some polish still to be put on that. But it’s slowly getting better. They a re a very strong emotional forechecking team and I think it’s obvious why they are where they are in the standings.”

Martin Hanzal would end the period with an elbowing penalty, which carried over into the 3rd period. Jovanovski would follow that up by plowing Thornton from behind to draw a roughing penalty, which gave the Sharks a two-man advantage for 26 seconds. Phoenix would kill off both penalties with assistance from San Jose ’s inability to get the puck near Bryzgalov.

The Coyotes caught the end of a shift late in the 3rd period, keeping the puck in the Sharks zone for 2 minutes, but Ryane Clowe was able to skate it safely out. Dany Heatley almost converted on the ensuing play in the Coyotes zone before Bryzgalov stoned Marleau for the third time in the game with 3:28 to play.

In the overtime period, Dan Boyle just missed on a chance in tight, but his shot sailed wide right. Setoguchi would take a bad tripping penalty moments later to put the Coyotes back on the power play.

Phoenix just missed on a Yandle shot that rang off the crossbar, then Nabokov followed it up with a pair of big glove saves on Doan blasts. San Jose would kill off the penalty, then turn on the jets in the Coyotes end of the ice. San Jose threw several shots on net, but Bryzgalov stood tall.

The mind set is always to kill the penalty and I thought the boys did a hell of a job sacrificing the body," said Nabokov. Dougie (Murray) blocked that shot, and we were aggressive. That's what we like and we killed the penalty.

In the shootout Nabokov stopped Peter Mueller with a nifty glove save, waving his mitt at the puck to snatch it out of the year. Pavelski followed that by snapping the puck past Bryzgalov for a goal. Nabokov went back to the glove to deny Radim Vrbata on another shot that was headed for the top right corner. Dan Boyle had a chance to end it, but he tried one too many moves that failed to fool Bryzgalov. Nabokov took matters into his own hands by shutting the door on Robert Lang, turning aside a weak forehand shot by the Coyotes forward.

“When you don’t get two (points) you always feel like you left one out there, that’s the reality of the business," said Tippett. "In the 65 minutes that were played, we feel like we competed very hard and it was a hard fought battle. Unfortunately we didn’t get two but we’ll take our one and get ready for tomorrow night.”

Game Notes:

Phoenix took a 1-0 shootout win over San Jose back on October 12th


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1 2 3 OT SO T
PHO 0 2 0 0 0 2
SJ 1 1 0 0 1 3
1st period - 1, SJ, Setoguchi 10 (McLaren, Blake), 2:54.
2nd period - 2, Pavelski, 7 (unassisted), 5:17, (sh). 3, PHO, Prucha 7 (Jovanovski, Hanzal), 9:20. 4, PHO, Doan 10 (Upshall), 18:22.
3rd period - None.
Overtime - None.
Shootout - PHO: Mueller (miss), Vrbata (miss), Lang (miss). SJ: Pavelski (goal), Boyle (miss).
1st period - Setoguchi, SJ (slashing), 19:08.
2nd period - Mitchell, SJ (tripping), 4:13; Vrbata, PHO (hooking), 12:28; Nichol, SJ (holding the stick), 12:28; Upshall, PHO (holding), 16:04; Hanzal, PHO (elbowing), 19:27.
3rd period - Jovanovski, PHO (roughing), 1:03.
Overtime - Setoguchi, SJ (tripping), 1:43.
Shots Saves
PHO - Bryzgalov 38 36
SJ - Nabokov 33 31
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
PHO 9 14 6 4 33
SJ 10 8 19 1 38
Power Play Conversion
PHO 0 of 3
SJ 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Evgeni Nabokov
Joe Pavelski
Ilya Bryzgalov
Referees: Kimmerly, Watson. Linesmen: Pancich, Rody.

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