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The implosion, take II
Sharks fumble another 3-goal lead
3/10/09 - By Mike Lee

With last Thursday’s implosion to the Minnesota Wild ripe for avenging, the Sharks stormed to a 3-0 lead at the Xcel Energy Center . Then they imploded again. Surrendering three goals in the 3rd period, the Sharks coughed up another big lead, but this time they salvaged the win with a Christian Ehrhoff goal in overtime.

The latest meltdown was tempered with the fact that San Jose buckled down in the extra period, but it still raises questions on when the Sharks will snap out of their current funk. The Sharks kept pace with the Detroit Red Wings, who also won in overtime on Tuesday, for the race for the Western Conference.

Joe Thornton staked the Sharks to a lead 4:13 into the game on a fluke bounce off the stick of defenseman Nick Schulz. Thornton threw the puck on net from the left wing boards after Travis Moen cycled it around the end boards. Schulz tried deflecting the shot, but instead sent a rainbow over Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom and into the net.

Moen would score his 1st goal as a Shark 8 minutes later, while San Jose was killing off a Marc-Edouard Vlasic holding penalty. Patrick Marleau setup the goal with a breakaway after blocking a Marek Zidlicky shot at the Sharks blueline. Marleau raced up the ice and got the shot off, but Backstrom made the save. The rebound kicked back out into the slot where Moen trailed. The new Sharks left winger squeezed a shot through Backstrom’s pads for the 2-0 lead.

Backstrom’s initial save was apparently good enough to prevent Marleau from being credited with an assist on the play.

A hooking penalty to Stephane Veilleux at 5:01 of the 2nd period pegged the Sharks against the best penalty kill in the league. Thornton would respond with his 2nd goal of the game 39 seconds into the penalty. Christian Ehrhoff put a shot on Backstrom from the left dot, but the puck deflected off the Wild goaltender. With the puck rolling out toward the right circle Thornton scooped it up and fired the puck past Backstrom. Once again, the scorekeeper denied any Sharks of assists on the play, and once again the Sharks had a 3-0 lead against the Wild.

As was the case last Thursday in San Jose , the Wild started to chip away at that lead.

Peter Olvecky got Minnesota on the board at 8:38 of the period on a put back in from of Sharks goaltender Brian Boucher. Cal Clutterbuck put a shot on net from in tight, and Boucher failed to control the rebound. It skittered around the top of the crease before Olvecky gathered it and took a step to his right before sliding it into the open net.

The Wild would put a three spot up on the scoreboard in the 3rd period to roar back to tie the game. Pierre-Marc Bouchard made it 3-1 just 1 minute into the 3rd period on a wrist shot from the right side, after sliding around defenseman Alexei Semenov.

Milan Michalek would score his 18th goal of the season midway through the period to push the Sharks lead back to two goals, but that would be short lived. The Sharks winger grabbed a loose puck near the right corner then headed toward the net and roofed a shot over Backstrom’s left shoulder.

Former Sharks captain Owen Nolan would go to work on his old team starting with his 400th career goal at 13:56 of the period. Nolan redirected a fake shot from Zidlicky from the high slot. Zidlicky sent the puck wide left of the net as Nolan circled back to the crease from behind the net.

Nolan became only the 81st player to reach the 400-goal mark.

He would get his 401st with 2:06 to play in regulation. Saku Koivu grabbed a faceoff draw that was won by Marleau and circled behind the net. Koivu sent a feed from the end boards through Brad Lukowich’s skates to Nolan in the slot for the one-timer past Boucher.

After being banished to the press box after his performance against Minnesota last week, Ehrhoff used the overtime to atone for his poor play. The defenseman grabbed a deflection along the left wing boards and raced in on net and lifted a shot over Backstrom to prevent a second catastrophic collapse in less than 5 days.

Game Notes:

The Sharks recalled defenseman Derek Joslin before the game to fill the void left by Rob Blake who retured to San Jose to nurse his injured foot, but he was a healthy scratch. The Sharks were not without a shortage of rookies in the lineup however. Brad Staubitz, Jamie McGinn and Tomas Greiss were all in the lineup for the Sharks, although Griess served as Boucher’s backup.


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1 2 3 OT T
SJ 2 1 1 1 5
MIN 0 1 3 0 4
1st period - 1, SJ, Thornton 19 (Moen, Ehrhoff), 4:13. 2, SJ, Moen 5 (unassisted), 12:32, (sh).
2nd period - 3, SJ, Thornton 20 (unassisted), 5:40, (pp). 4, MIN, Olvecky 2 (Clutterbuck, Bergeron), 8:38.
3rd period - 5, MIN, Bouchard 16 (Johnsson), 1:02. 6, SJ, Michalek, 18 (Clowe, Boyle), 10:25. 7, MIN, Nolan 19 (Zidlicky, Koivu), 13:56. 8, MIN, Nolan 20 (Koivu), 17:54.
Overtime - 9, SJ, Ehrhoff 8 (unassisted), 3:34.
1st period - Staubitz, SJ (holding the stick), 8:11; Vlasic, SJ (holding), 11:11; Scott, MIN (hooking), 14:15.
2nd period - Koivu, MIN (hooking), 3:00; Veilleux, MIN (hooking), 5:01; Shelley, SJ (holding), 18:56.
3rd period - None.
Overtime - None.
Shots Saves
SJ - Boucher 29 25
MIN - Backstrom 23 18
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
SJ 8 8 5 2 23
MIN 3 15 10 1 29
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 3
MIN 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Joe Thornton
Owen Nolan
Travis Moen
Referees: Kowal, Dwyer. Linesmen: Henderson, Nelson.

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