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Sharks clinch playoff birth with win
Nabokov shines in 3-0 shutout
3/25/10 - By Mike Lee -

Evgeni Nabokov turned in his best performance since the Olympic break, shutting out the Dallas Stars 3-0 as the Sharks made their return to HP Pavilion on Thursday night. The shutout was the 50th of Nabokov’s career, but more importantly, it clinched a playoff spot for San Jose for the 5th consecutive season. The Sharks netminder turned aside all 27 shots that he faced and got a little help from the post in the 3rd period.

After an atrocious road trip, the Sharks were in need of a solid performance by their netminder, who was solid on Tuesday in Minnesota . Nabokov responded with solid positioning and key saves to stymie Dallas.

"It's a building process," Nabokov said of the Sharks past two games. "It's also a process getting ready for the playoffs. I think that's so important to get ready for the playoffs and play right before the playoffs. I think that's what we wanted to do. These two games were a great example that we can play this way, where we don't have turnovers, no odd-man rushes."

Nabokov’s adversary Marty Turco also turned in a solid performance, but he received little offensive support.

Turco flashed the leather with 5:17 to play in the opening period, keeping the game scoreless. Ryane Clowe snapped a 17-foot shot from the inside of the right circle, but the Stars netminder snared the shot from his knees.

Devin Setoguchi and Dany Heatley exchanged chances in close right before the intermission, but Turco stood tall, keep the game deadlocked at 0-0.

“We thought we needed to change our game from Minnesota, and obviously we learned something there," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. "We used that same recipe again tonight and now its how long can we hold on to that recipe, and continue playing this way because it is the right way to play.”

A Mark Fistric holding penalty on Joe Thornton put the sharks on the power play 3:20 of the 2nd period and the Sharks would capitalize. Dan Boyle put a shot on goal from the top of the left circle, that was deflected by a Stars defenseman. The shot changed directions on Turco and found its way to the back of the net. It was Boyle’s 14th goal of the season and the 400th career NHL point.

Nicklas Grossman put the Sharks right back on the power play a minute later after he hauled down Torrey Mitchell behind the Stars net. Turco would make a stellar save on Joe Pavelski on the power play, stacking the pads to deny the Sharks forward. San Jose would convert on the ensuing faceoff.

Rob Blake punched in a rebound with 24 seconds left in the man-advantage. Patrick Marleau put a shot on net that deflected into the slot where Blake had pinched. The defenseman gathered in the puck and lifted the 8-foot shot past Turco for the 2-0 lead.

“It was a pretty even first period," siad Stars head coach Marc Crawford. "In the second period, the three penalties in a row that we got were fairly significant. I think a lot of times you need to have a little bit of feel for the game as a player. What’s being allowed, and what isn’t. And I thought that was very difficult for us tonight.”

San Jose dodged a bullet to start the 3rd period when Jere Lehtinen put a shot off the post after Dallas had stepped up the pressure out of the gate. Nabokov would make a nice save five minutes later when he pinned a Trevor Daly shot to he ice with his left leg pad.

The Stars seemed destined to crack the scoring column, but Setoguchi and Logan Couture teamed up to score on the Sharks firs shot of the period at 7:41. Setoguchi drove the net with the puck forcing Turco to make a diving save. Couture followed up while Turco was on his back, punching at the puck enough to push it across the Dallas goal line. Turco appeared to help the puck with his backside as he lay flat out in the crease.

Dallas instigator extraordinaire Steve Ott earned an early trip to the showers after he elbowed Marleau, then tried to bait him into a fight. Marleau would earn a deuce for roughing, but Ott was rewarded with a 10-minute misconduct, an elowing minor and a pair of roughing minors.

Those infractions would provide the Sharks with a 2-man advantage, but Joe Thornton was whistled for a ticky-tack hooking penalty.

“On the other side of it I thought the Sharks played pretty good," added Crawford. "They were quick on the forecheck. I just thought we took too many penalties.”

Game Notes:

Blake was injured midway through the 3rd period and did not return to the game. Blake’s power-play goal moves him into a tie in all time power-play goals (134) by a defenseman. He is also now in sole possession of 18th place in career points (239-533=772) by a defenseman.


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1 2 3 T
DAL 0 0 0 0
SJ 0 2 1 3
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, SJ, Boyle 14 (Malhotra, Clowe), 3:29, (pp). 2, SJ, Blake 6 (Marleau, Thornton), 6:13, (pp).
3rd period - 3, SJ, Couture 2 (Setoguchi, Boyle), 7:41.
1st period - Barch, DAL (fighting major), 12:50; Staubitz, SJ (fighting major), 12:50.
2nd period - Fistric, DAL (holding), 3:20; Grossman, DAL (tripping), 4:49; Boyle, SJ (interference), 10:15; Grossman, DAL (boarding), 13:35; Mitchell, SJ (holding the stick), 16:24.
3rd period - Robidas, DAL (boarding), 14:03; Ott, DAL (elbowing), 14:47; Ott, DAL (roughing), 14:47; Ott, DAL (roughing), 14:47; Ott, DAL (10 min misconduct), 14:47; Marleau, SJ (roughing), 14:47; Thornton, SJ (hooking), 15:05; Ribeiro, DAL (hooking), 17:32.
Shots Saves
DAL - Turco 16 13
SJ - Nabokov 19 19
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
DAL 13 7 7 27
SJ 15 16 10 41
Power Play Conversion
DAL 0 of 2
SJ 2 of 7
3 Stars of the Game
Evgeni Nabokov
Dan Boyle
Devin Setoguchi
Referees: Watson, Martell. Linesmen: Wheler, Nowak.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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