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Nabokov extends shutout streak
Coyotes battle to the end in 2-0 SJ win
1/29/09 - By Mike Lee

Evgeni Nabokov extended his shutout streak to 167+ minutes in a 2-0 blanking of the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night. Nabokov stopped 24 shots to put up his second goose egg in as many games. Seven minor penalties didn't make life any easier on the Sharks goaltender, who came up big all night.

Nabokov last surrendered a goal to Taylor Pyatt in the 1st period of the Sharks 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks nine days ago. Since then, he quietly established a new franchise record for consecutive minutes without allowing a goal.

"It's a team effort," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. "Obviously Nabby has been tremendous the last few games. He's as sharp now as he has been all year and we're excited about that. The other players around him did a real good job. Not a lot of second chances and very good penalty killing."

The rash of San Jose penalties also meant that it was that much harder to generate much offense. The Sharks did outshoot their opponent, but the goals were just as scarce for San Jose .

"I thought it was a really good hockey game," said Coyotes head coach Wayne Gretzky. "It was an intense playoff atmosphere hockey. They are a really good hockey club with great players over there. I was really proud of my team and how hard they played and how we competed as a group. "

Ryane Clowe had an apparent goal taken off the board midway through the opening period after it was ruled that he kicked the puck into the Coyotes goal. Video replays confirmed a distinct kicking motion, and Clowe did little to protest the call.

"I thought it was going to stay, because I had no idea it hit my foot," said Clowe. "I couldn't really kick it, because I didn't know where it was going."

Things got dicey for the Sharks toward the end of the period when Marc-Edouard Vlasic was called for roughing, and the Coyotes strung a series of shots on goal. Evgeni Nabokov came up big with a pair of saves that he was forced to make after wild deflections had the pucks coming in from a variety of angles.

Phoenix took back-to-back delay of game penalties to open the 2nd period, and the second one would catch up to them. Christian Ehrhoff whistled a blast from the point past Ilya Bryzgalov at 5:59 to give the Sharks the 1-0 lead. The defenseman took a feed from Patrick Marleau at the blueline before scoring his 4th goal of the season.

A Joe Thornton interference penalty at 12:00 gave the Coyotes an opportunity to even things up, but the Sharks penalty kill defused the situation. When Thornton got out of the box, both teams decided to open up the offense. The wide open play favored San Jose , who had several quality scoring chances.

The up tempo play also meant that the hitting picked up. Daniel Carcillo took exception to a hit from Joe Pavelski and retaliated with a slash that landed the Coyotes forward back in the penalty box. Nabokov helped equalize that when he tripped Martin Hanzel with his stick.

The Coyotes had a great chance to convert in tight, but Nabokov came up with a huge stop on Shane Doan's chance from the top of the crease.

Bryzgalov came up with a hot glove himself early in the 3rd period. Mike Grier put a one-timer on net from the doorstep, but the Coyotes netminder slid to his left and snared the shot to keep Phoenix within a single goal.

"We did get some good chance and Nabokov was Nabokov," added Gretzky. "I thought Bryzgalov was outstanding and I thought it was a really good hockey game every which way."

Rob Blake took an ill-timed hooking penalty with just under 3 minutes left in regulation. Nabokov made a game-saving snare of an Enver Lisin blast from the left point, as two Coyotes collapsed in front of the Sharks net.

Gretzky pulled Bryzgalov to give Phoenix a two-man advantage, but that would prove fruitless. The Sharks did make it interesting though. After intercepting a pass along the left wing boards, Pavelski skated up ice on the empty net, but bounced a shot off the left post. Moments later, Mike Grier sent the puck up ice from the Sharks zone, hitting the opposite pipe.

Third time was a charm when Marcel Goc finally buried a shot to seal the game.

"Secondary scoring is essential to win a championship and on nights when the big three aren't scoring and the second line has chances but they aren't going in, you have to find it from somewhere and it was the all-German team tonight," said McLellan. "They were the two guys that got the goals and were happy for them."

Game Notes

Dan Boyle missed his second consecutive game to nurse his upper body injury. The San Jose Mercury News reported on Thursday that Boyle did not injure himself in the All Star Game, and that he only played in the game because of the absence of hitting and the slower pace.


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1 2 3 T
PHO 0 0 0 0
SJ 0 1 1 2
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, SJ, Ehrhoff 4 (Marleau, Setoguchi), 5:59, (pp).
3rd period - 2, Goc 2 (Clowe, Semenov), 19:45, (en).
1st period - Winnik, PHO (fighting major), 3:31; Clowe, SJ (fighting major), 3:31; Michalek, PHO (interference), 6:12; Thornton, SJ (hooking), 12:37; Vlasic, SJ (roughing), 16:31.
2nd period - Carcillo, PHO (delay of game), 2:00; Fedoruk, PHO (delay of game – puck over glass), 5:21; Michalek, SJ (slashing), 8:46; Thornton, SJ (interference), 12:00; Carcillo, PHO (slashing), 16:50; Nabokov, SJ (tripping), 18:42; Lisin, PHO (roughing), 19:22; Vlasic, SJ (roughing), 19:22.
3rd period - Bench, PHO (too many men), 8:31; Blake, SJ (hooking), 17:10.
Shots Saves
PHO - Bryzgalov 28 27
PHO - empty net 1 0
SJ - Nabokov 24 24
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
PHO 7 10 7 24
SJ 7 8 14 29
Power Play Conversion
PHO 0 of 6
SJ 1 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Evgeni Nabokov
Ilya Bryzgalov
Christian Ehrhoff
Referees: Rooney, StPierre. Linesmen: Galloway, Sharrers.

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