SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ Evgeni Nabokov gave his parents something to
remember on their annual trip to watch him play.
Nabokov stopped 26 shots to help the San Jose Sharks avoid their first
three-game losing streak with a 3-0 victory over the Florida Panthers on
Nils Ekman, Alyn McCauley and Marco Sturm each scored a goal, and Nabokov
recorded his sixth shutout of the season and 23rd of his career as the Sharks
won for the fourth time at home in five games.
``They don't come to see me any more,'' said a smiling Nabokov about his
parents who made the trip from Russia. ``They come to see the baby.''
Nabokov's wife, Tabitha, gave birth to the couple's first child, Emily
Paige, on Jan. 16.
Nabokov, one shutout shy of the franchise's single-season record, said his
father will celebrate his performance more than he will.
``He's all excited about it, more than me,'' Nabokov said. ``I have to
prepare for the next game but he gets to live with it for the next week or
Roberto Luongo had 25 saves for the Panthers, who have a four-game winless
The Sharks improved to 5-0-1 in their last six games against Florida, which
attempted just three shots in the second period.
``We probably get spoiled because the goaltending is so good,'' McCauley
said. ``That allows us to stay on the offensive side.''
Nabokov's biggest save came midway in the second period, when Niklas Hagman
had a breakaway. Nabokov saved it with his glove and the Sharks scored on their
next possession to go up, 2-0, when McCauley charged the net, took a pass from
Ekman and squeezed the puck past Luongo's right shoulder.
``We come down, had a really good chance to score and it never fails,''
Panthers defender Lyle Obelein said. ``They get the save and then they come
back and get the goal. It's obviously tough.''
Ekman gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead with his 14th goal of the season with 7:06
remaining in the first period. Wayne Primeau set up the goal as he brought the
puck from behind the net and threw a centering pass to Scott Parker, who tipped
the puck to Ekman in the right crease. Ekman tipped it into the top of the net.
``It's nice to come in 1-0 after the first and I'm not so sure we deserved
it,'' McCauley said. ``But we played better defensively the rest of the way and
created enough to gain two points.''
Florida outskated the Sharks in the first period, but couldn't convert any
of its chances.
``We played a great first period,'' Panthers coach Rick Dudley said.
``Unfortunately we couldn't get one into the net.''
Sturm scored a short-handed goal with 7:55 left to play after he gained
control of a loose puck in front of the net and tossed it into an open net as
Luongo was knocked off his feet by one of his own teammates.
San Jose's Alexander Korolyuk missed a penalty shot with 2:25 remaining in