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A new low for Sharks
San Jose drops 6th straight
3/21/10 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks were looking for a perfect road trip and after Sunday night’s 5-1 loss to the cellar-dwelling Edmonton Oilers, they’re one loss from a pristine 0 and 6 run. The story remained the same. Fall behind early, and provide no answer to an inferior opponent that mutated into world beaters against a hapless Sharks roster that has no answers. Evgeni Nabokov gave up 5 even-strength goals to drop his 24th decision of the season.

With the Phoenix Coyotes shootout win over the Dallas Stars, the Sharks also fell out of the division lead, dropping to 4th place in the Western Conference. The Coyotes incredible 9-game winning streak, combined with the Sharks 6th consecutive loss has resulted in an 11-point swing in the standings. San Jose held a comfortable lead in the division ten days ago, but that evaporated in the blink of an eye.

The one positive for the Sharks was the return of defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who has been shelved with a knee injury since the end of January. Vlasic’s return was stymied by his presence on the ice for the Oilers first two goals.

Losing to a team that has won 7 times in it last 39 games isn’t the way the Sharks had planned on snapping out of their current funk.

The disturbing trend of giving up the game’s first goal continued for San Jose , who once again looked lifeless in the opening period. The two teams were skating 4-on-4 when Joe Thornton coughed the puck up at his own blueline. Robert Nilsson scooped up the puck and raced up ice before sliding a shot around Evgeni Nabokov’s right skate.

Edmonton made it 2-0 just 1:33 later. Ryan Potulny put a shot on goal from the right dot that Nabokov stopped, but the rebound landed right on Dustin Penner’s stick in the slot. Defenseman Rob Blake was late to get back, allowing Penner to sweep the puck into the Sharks net.

Things didn’t get much better for San Jose in the 2nd period. Fernando Pisani scored only his 4th goal of the season at 10:14. Shawn Horcoff carried the puck around the back of the Sharks net before sending a centering pass into the slot to Tom Gilbert. Sharks defensemen Dan Boyle and Douglas Murray both tried to collapse on Gilbert who put a shot on net that Nabokov stopped with his leg pad, but the puck deflected to Pisani just off the right post. With the front of the net vacated by the defense, Pisani had an easy go of depositing the puck past Nabokov.

An Aaron Johnson penalty at the end of the 2nd period gave the Sharks 1:50 of power play time to open the 3rd, but the lethargy was spread across every line for San Jose . Patrick Marleau came closest to scoring, clipping the crossbar with a 25-foot slap shot.

If things couldn’t get any worse, San Jose failed to draw a penalty after Torrey Mitchell was checked face-first into the glass from behind with 7:30 to play. As he hobbled back to the bench, Edmonton countered and scored when Horcoff deposited an Eathan Moreau pass through the slot. As become all too common, the Sharks were out of position defensively.

Johnson was the beneficiary of a deflection off Joe Pavelski two minutes later, when his shot from the blueline split Nabokov’s pads to make it 5-0.

Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk celebrated his first career NHL victory on Friday night, and came within 3:02 of his first career shutout, but Ryane Close slipped a rebound past the lanky netminder for this 18th goal of the season.

Game Notes:

Defenseman Jay Leach was the odd man out with Vlasic making his return to the lineup. Both Leach and Jed Ortmeyer were scratches, although Ortmeyer was injury related.


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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 0 0 1 1
EDM 2 1 2 5
1st period - 1, EDM, Nilsson 10 (unassisted), 11:10. 2, EDM, Penner 27 (Potulny, Pouliot), 12:33.
2nd period - 3, EDM, Pisani 4 (Gilbert, Horcoff), 10:14; Johnson, EDM (hooking), 19:50.
3rd period - 4, EDM Horcoff 12 (Moreau, Pisani), 12:52. 5, EDM, Johnson 4 (Penner, Cogliano), 15:05. 6, SJ, Clowe 18 (Boyle, Thornton), 16:58.
Penalties
1st period - Staubitz, SJ (fighting major), 5:58; Stortini, EDM (fighting major), 5:58; McGinn, SJ (roughing), 9:38; Potulny, EDM (roughing), 9:38.
2nd period - Clowe, SJ (slashing), 4:22; Chorney, EDM (holding), 11:26.
3rd period - Murray, SJ (interference), 13:55; Gilbert, EDM (tripping), 14:37; Murray, SJ (fighting major), 17:00; Stortini, EDM (fighting major), 17:00; Nichol, SJ (fighting major), 17:15; Comrie, EDM (fighting major), 17:15; Cogliano, EDM (high sticking), 18:17; Clowe, SJ (roughing), 20:00; Strudwick, EDM (slashing), 20:00.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 25 20
EDM - Dubnyk 28 27
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 13 8 7 28
EDM 8 11 6 25
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 4
EDM 0 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Devan Dubnyk
Ryan Whitney
Fernando Pisani
Attendence
16,839
Officials
Referees: Marouelli, Joannette. Linesmen: Heyer, Cvik.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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