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Sharks get it done in Toronto
Nabokov beats Giguere in showdown of former rivals
2/8/10 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks turned in another yeoman’s performance on the road, take a 3-2 win at the Air Canada Center in Toronto on Monday night. Battling against a Maple Leaf roster that has been injected with new life through a series of trades over the past week, the Sharks went toe-to-toe with Toronto to win their 9th straight on the road. Ryan Clowe scored the winning goal late in the 3rd period to help San Jose extend their Western Conference lead.

The storyline was filled with a cast of players that have lots of history with the Sharks, including Toronto head coach Ron Wilson. A trio of former Shark adversaries including Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Dion Phaneuf made their presence be known all night long.

Both teams spent the first half of the opening period probing for a weakness in the opposing team’s defense. San Jose would find Colton Orr’s weakness soon enough.

Jody Shelley and Orr squared off for a brief fight at 9:55 of the period, which ended with a Shelly right dropping the Maple Leafs right winger like a lead brick. Orr fell to his knees after taking the shot right off the chin.

The bout got the Maple Leafs attention and they would respond a minute later with a shot of their own, coming in the form of the game’s first goal. Phil Kessel took an awkward bounce off the right wing boards and cutting in on the Sharks net before sliding a pass through the crease to Tyler Bozak on the left post. Bozak simply had to gather the pass and sweep it into the empty net.

Former Anaheim Duck defenseman Francois Beauchemin took a tripping penalty at 18:40, to give the Sharks a brief power play. The league’s worst penalty killing unit almost converted on a short-handed goal after Joe Thornton turned the puck over in the Toronto zone. Lee Stepniak pick off the puck and raced up ice before uncorking a shot that Sharks netminder Evgeni Nabokov was forced to glove.

The Maple Leafs would outshoot San Jose 13-7 in the period, which may have served as a wake up call for the Sharks.

Toronto just missed pushing their lead to two goals early in the 2nd period when Alexei Ponikarovsky ripped a shot that split Nabokov’s pads and clanked off the right post.

San Jose began to turn up the heat on Maple Leafs goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere. After Brad Staubitz just missed putting a puck past the former Duck netminder, San Jose finally tallied a point when Dan Boyle pumped a shot from the right circle after a faceoff win by Thornton . The goal was the fist allowed by Giguere in two and a half games after the Maple Leafs acquired him last week.

Joe Pavelski gave the Sharks the lead 2:24 later on a wrist shot from the right dot, after taking a feed from Devin Setoguchi. Pavelski had Giguere leaning the wrong way as his shot slid inside the near post.

Staubitz and Garnet Exelby dropped the mitts on the ensuing faceoff, fighting to a draw.

Shelley put the Sharks in a precarious position right before the 2nd intermission after he took a bad roughing penalty for roughing Dion Phaneuf. The former Calgary Flames defenseman checked Shelley from behind and the Sharks tough guy retaliated, earning a trip to the box.

Phaneuf would add insult to injury by setting up the tying goal for Toronto just 9 seconds into the ensuing power play. After the Maple Leafs won the faceoff, Tomas Kaberle slid a pass to Phaneuf on the right point. Phaneuf sent a shot on goal that deflected off Nabokov, right to Kessel for the easy deposit.

Phaneuf would put Toronto back on the power play at 7:39 of the 3rd period after eating Clowe’s stick. Bozak would come inches from scoring after swatting a shot from the Sharks doorstep that Nabokov was able to smother. The Sharks would kill the penalty, setting up Clowe’s heroics.

Clowe and Setoguchi cycled the puck behind the Maple Leafs net, before Setoguchi tried stuffing a wrap-around chance past Giguere. The puck deflected off a Toronto defender to Clowe outside the right post. Clowe threw the puck on net from a tight angle, finding twine with 6:39 left in regulation.

Nabokov saved his best save for the final 10 seconds of regulation, denying three Maple Leafs from scoring during a wild rush in front of the Sharks goal. Viktor Stalberg came closest with a stab at a loose puck from the top of the crease.

Game Notes:

The Sharks appearance in Toronto was their first since December of 2005. Dwight Helminen made his debut for the Sharks, donning number 36. Nabokov moved into 30th place all time in career wins.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 0 2 1 3
TOR 1 1 0 2
1st period - 1, TOR, Bozak 3 (Kessel), 10:36.
2nd period - 2, SJ, Boyle 11 (Heatley, Thornton), 3:17. 3, SJ, Pavelski 16 (Setoguchi), 5:41. 4, TOR, Kessel 21 (Phaneuf, Kaberle), 19:09, (pp).
3rd period - 5, SJ, Clowe 15 (Setoguchi, Blake), 13:21.
1st period - Nichol, SJ (holding), 6:08; Shelley, SJ (fighting major), 9:55; Orr, TOR (fighting major), 9:55; Beauchemin, TOR (tripping), 18:40.
2nd period - Staubitz, SJ (fighting major), 5:43; Exelby, TOR (fighting major), 5:43; Beauchemin, TOR (interference), 16:32; Shelley, SJ (roughing), 19:00.
3rd period - Clowe, SJ (high sticking), 7:39.
Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 34 32
TOR - Giguere 26 23
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 7 9 10 26
TOR 13 13 8 34
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 2
TOR 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Evgeni Nabokov
Dion Phaneuf
Joe Pavelski
Referees: McCreary, Kimmerly. Linesmen: Miller, Morin.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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