When it comes to rude houseguests, Evgeni Nabokov
continues to be at the top of the Dallas Stars
The San Jose Sharks
goaltender made himself right at home at American Airlines Center yet again Monday night. Nabokov stopped all 29 shots the Stars sent his way and Devin Setoguchi
scored 7:55 into the third period as the Sharks claimed a 1-0 victory.
In running its record against Dallas to 4-0 this season, San Jose also increased its NHL-best point total to 91, three more than Boston and five up on Detroit for the top seed in the Western Conference.
''Fabulous,'' San Jose coach Todd McLellan
said of Nabokov. ''He was the first, second and third star in my opinion. He allowed us to escape with the point. I'm happy for Nabby. On the last road trip, a lot of pucks went by him and it wasn't his fault. This was really good for him as an individual and us as a team.''
Nabokov, who prevailed in a goaltending duel with Marty Turco
, won his seventh consecutive decision in Dallas. He started strong, making 11 saves in the first period, and turned aside 10 more during the third. The Stars enjoyed the only man advantage of the final period, but Stephane Robidas
hit the post with about 11 minutes remaining.
After Turco was pulled for an extra attacker, the Stars got one final rush up ice in the closing seconds, but defenseman Rob Blake
went down and blocked a one-timer by Jere Lehtinen
to secure Nabokov's fifth shutout of the season and the 45th of his career.
''Anytime they had a chance to play a rebound, we cleared the puck or blocked the shot,'' Nabokov said. ''It felt good, but the puck is really small. It can take any bounce. Anything could happen. You never have the feeling that you're not going to give up a goal.''
Setoguchi is another member of the Sharks who seemingly feels comfortable in the Lone Star State. He registered his first NHL goal there last season and provided the only offense of Monday's game with his 25th of the season.
Setoguchi stickhandled up the right side to get free and beat Turco on his stick side with a low shot from the right circle. Ryane Clowe
and Christian Ehrhoff
earned assists on the play.
"Clowie's been doing that all year, he's been making passes," Setoguchi said. "Just get it on net -- we weren't getting pucks to the net or guys to the net, and I just took a quick shot and it went in."
Turco finished with 23 saves but was left to mull over the shot he couldn't stop.
"Hindsight is always a beautiful thing and I wish I could have had that one back," Turco said. "You'd like to be in good position and take away that spot. If I was one inch over to the right and in a perfect square position, I would have had a lot better chance of saving it."
"He was the first, second and third star in my opinion. He allowed us to escape with the point. I'm happy for Nabby. On the last road trip, a lot of pucks went by him and it wasn't his fault. This was really good for him as an individual and us as a team." -- San Jose coach Todd McLellan on Evgeni Nabokov
San Jose had managed only 13 shots through the first two periods despite facing a banged-up Dallas squad that was further depleted by the loss of Mike Modano
to the flu. They recovered to pump 11 shots on Turco in the third, picking up the game's lone goal.
"Coming in, they're a desperate team, got a lot of injuries on the other side so we know they're going to come out hard," Setoguchi said. "Our goalie really kept us in it tonight. We can't have efforts like that on the road against desperate teams."
It was the second loss in a row for the Stars, who remained sixth in the West with 65 points.
''There were a lot of positives,'' Robidas said. ''The work ethic was there and we battled hard to the end. If we play like that, more often than not we are going to win games.''
Material from wire services and broadcast media was used in this report.