SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Though Evgeni Nabokov's shot still needs a little
work, not much else has been wrong with the San Jose goalie since his return to
Nabokov stopped 28 shots for his second shutout of the season, and Alex
Korolyuk scored the first goal in the San Jose Sharks' 2-0 victory over the
Anaheim Mighty Ducks on Saturday night.
Jonathan Cheechoo also scored a late power-play goal for the Sharks, who
extended their franchise-record home unbeaten streak to eight games (4-0-4)
with a conservative victory.
Nabokov was solid in his second start following a three-week absence with a
groin injury. He made several big saves in the third period, holding on for his
19th career shutout -- his first since a 0-0 tie with Philadelphia on Oct. 16.
Nabokov even took a shot at the Ducks' empty net with 45 seconds left,
trying to duplicate the power-play goal he scored against Vancouver two seasons
ago. Nabokov's try missed wide right -- and his teammates didn't plan to let him
forget it any time soon.
"I was going for it, but I'm not upset," Nabokov said. "I just try and do
my job out there. In a game like that when the score is 1-0, every save is more
Nabokov returned Thursday for a 2-2 tie with Edmonton, stopping 42 shots in
his first game back. Backup Vesa Toskala was impressive in his absence, and
coach Ron Wilson plans to use both goalies frequently for the foreseeable
"He didn't make any mistakes," Wilson said of Nabokov. "He handled the
puck really well -- and he should have scored."
With a healthy Nabokov and impressive backup Vesa Toskala, the Sharks seem
well-prepared for their upcoming stretch with eight of 11 games on the road --
particularly after a sound performance against Anaheim, which had won five
straight over the Sharks.
"We played good for a whole 60 minutes this time," said Cheechoo, who
scored with 51/2 minutes to play. "We weren't always back on our heels, like
we've been in some games. We got our offense going."
Martin Gerber stopped 23 shots for the Ducks, who hadn't played since a 3-2
win over the Sharks on Wednesday. In the second of four games in 13 days
between the Pacific Division rivals, San Jose beat Anaheim for the first time
since last Dec. 26.
"We're not prepared to play on the road," Anaheim captain Steve Rucchin
said. "Things are tougher on the road. We have to prove we can win out here,
but we don't seem to have the same intensity we have at home."
The Sharks scored just 2:02 after the opening faceoff. Anaheim defenseman
Niclas Havelid gave away the puck to Korolyuk, who raced past two Ducks and
beat Gerber with a quick shot for an unassisted goal.
It was just the third goal of the season -- the first since Nov. 18 -- for
Korolyuk, who played last season in his native Russia after clashing with
former Sharks coach Darryl Sutter.
Anaheim got one shot on goal in the first 11 minutes, and the defending
Western Conference champions never got in a rhythm. The Ducks played without
injured regulars Rob Niedermayer, Sandis Ozolinsh and Keith Carney.
"It was a 1-0 game until the end," Ducks coach Mike Babcock said. "They
came out and jumped in control. The bottom line was that we never capitalized
on our opportunities. Playing on the road is still an issue for us."
Cheechoo capped the victory with an inventive goal, beating Vitaly
Vishnevski with a phenomenal deke before roofing the puck behind Gerber.
Cheechoo, in his second full NHL season, is third on the Sharks with eight
"The more you play, you get a little more confident each game," Cheechoo
said. "Things just fall into place. Luckily, (Gerber) pulled off the post
first, and I was able to squeak it by him."