SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Evgeni Nabokov helped carry the San Jose Sharks
through a recent scoring drought. This time, his teammates made it easier.
Patrick Marleau scored two goals 29 seconds apart late in the second period
and the surging Sharks beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-0 on Friday night.
Jonathan Cheechoo also scored twice and Nils Ekman added a goal for the
Sharks, unbeaten in a franchise-record 10 straight home games.
"That's fantastic. We should be dominant at home," coach Ron Wilson said.
"We finally found the recipe, and we're comfortable here now."
Nabokov stopped 25 shots for his third shutout this season and the 20th of
his career as San Jose moved into a first-place tie with the Kings in the
Pacific Division. The teams meet again Saturday night in Los Angeles.
"The whole team was great because guys were sacrificing their bodies,"
Nabokov said. "These were big points for us. But we have to forget about this
win or we'll get beat in Los Angeles."
Ziggy Palffy had a seven-game point streak snapped as the Kings lost for the
first time in five games.
"We weren't good enough," coach Andy Murray said. "They just played
better than us."
The Sharks had scored exactly two goals in their previous nine games -- and
two or fewer in their last 12. But Marleau, who has eight goals in his past
nine games, sparked the offense.
He gave San Jose a 3-0 lead with 2:38 left in the second period after
picking off an errant pass and firing between the legs of Los Angeles
goaltender Cristobel Huet, who was making his season-high eighth straight
appearance in place of the injured Roman Cechmanek.
"It's been awhile since we've had a three-goal lead," Marleau said. "That
gave us some breathing room. This was a first-place game and we wanted to get
Vincent Damphousse's centering pass less than 30 seconds later set up
Marleau's one-timer to make it 4-0.
"We took advantage of a couple of breaks," Wilson said. "It was just a
solid effort. These games after Christmas are tough because you never know
which way they're going to go."
The Sharks scored a pair of goals within 27 seconds in the first period to
take the lead.
"They outworked us," Los Angeles left wing Luc Robitaille said. "We gave
up goals on faceoffs and stuff like that. You can't do that."
Ekman redirected a long shot from Kyle McLaren with 8:30 left in the first
to put San Jose up 1-0. Cheechoo scored from the top of the crease after Wayne
Primeau won a battle for the puck behind the net.
"We didn't give them too many chances," Cheechoo said. "Nabby played well
and held the fort."
Cheechoo made it 5-0 with 3:43 remaining, and a flurry of fights led to 50
penalty minutes in the final 1:41.
The Sharks are 5-1-0-1 in their last seven games against the Kings.