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Couture bails out Sharks in Minny
SJ sweeps season series with Wild
4/21/10 - By Mike Lee -

After taking all three games against the Minnesota Wild, the Sharks were looking for the season sweep in St Paul on Friday night. A late goal by Logan Couture helped the Sharks salvage a win after blowing a 2-0 lead. Couture was the beneficiary of an equipment failure by teammate Dan Boyle just under 4 minutes to play.

Boyle tried pumping a shot on net from the right wing boards, but his stick broke on the play, knuckling the puck. The shot slid through the slot at quarter speed, snaking past a gaggle of skaters in the front of the net. Couture was roaming on the left side and was able to gather in the puck and deposited into a wide open net for the game winner.

“You have to be lucky sometimes,” Boyle said after the game. “That was lucky!”

Manny Malhotra gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead at 7:19 of the 1st period by deflecting a Rob Blake blast. Blake was positioned at the right point, when he uncorked a shot that Malhotra tipped past Niklas Backstrom for his 13th goal of the season.

Minnesota almost answered 1 minute later when Cal Clutterbuck sent a one-timer on net from the slot. Sharks netminder Evgeni Nabokov had to slide laterally from right to left in order to deny the scoring chance.

The Sharks 3rd line manufactured the next goal with some tenacious play in front of the Wild net at 12:22. Backstrom made a stop on another shot by Blake, but the puck stayed within an arms reach of the crease. Torrey Mitchell and Scott Nichol stabbed at the puck in an attempt to free it from Backstrom who was parked on his backside. Nichol would pry it free before slipping it around the Wild netminder for the 2-0 lead.

San Jose had to kill off three penalties in the period, including a high sticking penalty that carried over into the middle frame. Minnesota ’s 10th ranked power play failed to convert on any of the three chances, which allowed San Jose to carry that two-goal lead into the first intermission.

Devin Setoguchi just missed making it a three-goal lead 4 minutes into the 2nd, when a shot deflected out to him in the slot, but a Wild defenseman tied up his stick to deny the chance.

Clutterbuck cut the Sharks lead in half at 5:10 on a deflection off Nabokov. Video replay showed that the puck hit off the Wild forward’s glove, but it was ruled a good goal.

Joe Pavelski bounced a backhand shot off the left post a minute later, then the Sharks magnified the miss when Douglas Murray took a holding penalty on the ensuing counter attack.

With Murray in the box, the Wild appeared to tie the game with a power play chance, but referee Chris Lee lost sight of the puck and blew the play dead. San Jose generated a short-handed chance on the next faceoff, but missed on the opportunity.

Antti Miettinen made them pay with a goal before Murray ’s penalty expired to knot the game at 2-2. The Wild winger roofed a shot from the high slot that sailed over Nabokov’s right shoulder.

Mikko Koivu was sent off for tripping at 9:30 of the period, giving the Sharks their first power play of the game. They would promptly turn the puck over to James Sheppard who raced up ice. Dan Boyle was forced to hook him in order to stop the breakaway, but Sheppard was awarded a penalty shot.

Nabokov kept the game tied by denying Sheppard on the ensuing freebie, but stuffing a five-hole attempt.

A too many men call on the Sharks with 9:07 left in regulation setup a prime chance for Minnesota to grab the lead. Nabokov made the save of the game on the Wild power play, when he sealed off the left side of the net with a sliding save.

Game Notes:

Boyle’s assist on the game winner, gave him 42 for the season. That breaks the team record for assists by a defenseman that he set last season. Clowe was back in the lineup after taking a puck to the throat on Wednesday night in Dallas .


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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 2 0 1 3
MIN 0 2 0 2
1st period - 1, SJ, Malhotra 13 (Blake, McGinn), 7:19. 2, SJ, Nichol 4 (Mitchell, Blake), 12:22.
2nd period - 3, MIN, Clutterbuck 13 (Latendresse, Zanon), 5:10. 4, MIN, Miettinen 19 (Brunette, Zidlicky), 6:59, (pp). MIN, Sheppard (missed penalty shot), 10:53.
3rd period - 5, SJ, Couture 4 (Boyle, Clowe), 16:09.
Penalties
1st period - Blake, SJ (hooking), 3:10; Clowe, SJ (goaltender interference), 16:11; Couture, SJ (high sticking), 19:28.
2nd period - Murray , SJ (holding), 5:45; Koivu, MIN (tripping), 9:30; Marleau, SJ (roughing), 11:54; Zidlicky, MIN (interference), 12:12; Almond, MIN (hooking), 18:19.
3rd period - Bench, SJ (too many men), 10:18.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 29 27
MIN - Backstrom 28 25
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 11 9 8 28
MIN 7 11 11 29
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 3
MIN 1 of 6
3 Stars of the Game
Logan Couture
Rob Blake
Cal Clutterbuck
Attendence
18,584
Officials
Referees: Marouelli, Lee. Linesmen: Mach, Gibbs.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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