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Pretty performance nets shootout loss
Offense absent in home loss
1/14/10 - By Mike Lee -

With a chance to pounce on a Boston Bruins team that played in Anaheim 24 hours earlier, the Sharks turned in a pretty performance that netted themselves a shootout loss. Rather than forcing the matter with hard nosed play, the Sharks threw puck after puck on net from safe distances on Thursday night and lost 2-1 in a head scratching performance before a sellout HP Pavilion crowd.

Boston netminder Tim Thomas stopped all but one of the 42 shots he faced, which wasn't that tall an order considering that most of the rubber San Jose put on Thomas came from distances well outside of the area in front of the Bruins goal.

San Jose opened the play with spirited skating and lots of pretty passing that amounted to nothing in the scoring column. The Sharks top line of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and Dany Heatley were guilty of making one too many passes too often in the period.

"I thought there were two games," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. "The first one went for 65 minutes and we competed hard in it. You've got to give them a lot of credit. They played very well defensively. Their goalie gave them an opportunity. They didn't make many mistakes. We had to earn anything we got and we did get some chances. And then the second game. We've got four pretty good shooters that we sent in and we'd expect at least one goal from them. But it didn't happen tonight."

When they did get the puck in position to potentially put it in the net, misfires and whiffs seemed to plague the entire lineup. Heatley misfired on a pretty feed from Thornton in the slot midway through the period, after Thomas committed to one side of the net to take away the shot from the big centerman.

Bruins left winger Daniel Paille finally broke scoring drought at 2:50 of the 2nd period after slipping past the Sharks defense and jamming a shot in on net after Shawn Thornton hit him with a pass from the right side. Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov actually stopped Paille's shot, but the rebound was kicked into the Sharks goal by defenseman Dan Boyle who was late getting over to cover Paille.

Paille had another chance to score 3 minutes later when the puck found itself in the crease with Nabokov lying on his back. The Sharks were able to pin the puck against their goaltender, drawing a whistle. Nabokov was oblivious to the whereabouts of the puck, and Douglas Murray's presence of mind to use his goaltender has a barrier prevented a second goal.

Joe Thornton evened things up at 9:56 on a wild sequence. Boyle sent a shot in from the left point that hit Heatley in front of the crease, then floated over Thomas, landing in the crease. Thornton got his stick on the puck as Thomas and two other Bruin defenders scrambled to clear it, jamming it into Boston's net for the 1-1 tie.

Jed Ortmeyer continued the swing-and-a-miss theme for San Jose, whiffing on a wide open net after a shot deflected off Thomas with three minutes remaining in the period.

"We had a lot of chances to put them away," said Boyle. "They had a few too, but for the most part we could have put them away and we didn't. Although our record has been pretty good lately, I think our first line is getting it done, but other than that the rest of the crew needs to pick it up, defenseman included."

San Jose would try to generate a little activity in front of Thomas to start the 3rd period, which almost turned into a tally. Thomas survived a wild sequence three minutes into the period after the Sharks collapsed on the Boston crease, putting three quality chances on net in succession from in tight.

Thomas weathered that storm, but the Sharks elected to fall back into perimeter mode rather than keeping the pressure on the suddenly busy goaltender.

Paille continued with his impressive night by creating his own breakaway with a nifty chip off the left wing boards 2 minutes later. With two San Jose defenders in his way, the winger spun away from the blockade as he bounced the puck off the boards, then found himself with nothing but Nabokov between him and the Sharks net. The Russian netminder stood tall, denting Paille on the breakaway chance.

Referees Mike Leggo and Brian Pochmara kept their whistles in their pockets for the first two periods of play, but then went on a penalty calling binge 7 minutes into the final period. Dan Boyle was sent off for holding, but Bruins forward Blake Wheeler followed him just before Boyle's penalty expired. Marleau would earn his 7th minor penalty of the season less than a minutes later.

Neither team could score on their abbreviated power plays, but Leggo gave San Jose one more chance, this time for a full two minutes at 11:37 when Wheeler earned his second trip to the box for hooking.

Thomas dodged another bullet with on the ensuing power play when a Manny Malhotra shot attempt sailed wide left of the net after the goaltender was once again caught out of position.

The tie would hold threw the first 60 minutes, but both teams seemed uninterested in ending things in overtime. Ryane Clowe had a chance to end it in the extra session, but he whiffed on a 10 ft shot, saving Thomas' bacon one last time.

In the shootout, Michael Ryder missed wide left to start things off, then Joe Pavelski stumbled on his way to the net, lifting his shot 5-feet over the crossbar. Nabokov stopped Miroslav Satan's chance, then Ryane Clowe went to his backhand move and Thomas was ready for it. Mark Recchi and Heatley both missed to send the shootout to a fourth round.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara lumbered toward the Sharks net and uncorked a 20-foot slap shot that beat Nabokov to the glove side. Marleau had a chance to extend things, but his forehand try was snuffed out by Thomas, ending things.

"We gave everything we had tonight," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. "By the end of the game the guys on the bench were totally exhausted. That's two tough games in two nights with the travel and we know what kind of team San Jose is. We had a lot of things happen tonight and most of them good. Timmy [Thomas] had to steal us one. Our top guys had to be our top guys and had so much ice and had to play those big guys all night."

Game Notes:

Celebrating the 52nd anniversary of his ground breaking professional debut which broke the color barrier in the NHL, Willie O'Ree was in San Jose to drop the ceremonial first puck at Thursday night's game. O'Ree will participate in a serious of events in Oakland on Friday, including a visit to Oakland Technical High School and an appearance with several Sharks players at Oakland Ice Center from 4 to 5:30 p.m.


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1 2 3 OT SO T
BOS 0 1 0 0 1 2
SJ 0 1 0 0 0 1
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, BOS, Paille 5 (Thornton), 2:50. 2, SJ, Thornton 12 (Heatley, Boyle), 9:56.
3rd period - None.
Overtime - None.
Shootout - BOS: Ryder (miss), Satan (miss), Recchi (miss), Chara (goal). SJ: Pavelski (miss), Clowe (miss), Heatley (miss), Marleau (miss).
1st period - None.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - Boyle, SJ (holding), 6:57; Wheeler, BOS (high sticking), 8:43; Marleau, SJ (interference), 9:32; Wheeler, BOS (hooking), 11:37.
Overtime - None.
Shots Saves
BOS - Thomas 42 41
SJ - Nabokov 31 30
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
BOS 11 10 9 1 31
SJ 12 16 12 2 42
Power Play Conversion
BOS 0 of 2
SJ 0 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Tim Thomas
Joe Thornton
Daniel Paille
Referees: Leggo, Pochmara. Linesmen: Gibbs, Wheler.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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