SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ The San Jose Sharks know if they're going to compete
for the top spot in the Western Conference they'll have to step up their
Patrick Marleau had a goal and an assist Friday night to lead the Sharks to
a 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
``We are still in the race for that first spot,'' said Evgeni Nabokov, who
made 31 saves. ``We are four from first place. We have to look up top, but we
have to not think too far ahead of us. We want to work harder, now that it is
The Sharks (79 points) are tied with Vancouver and trail Detroit by four
points and Colorado by two in the West.
``We have to keep pace and keep up _ not so much look behind but keep
looking ahead,'' Marleau said. ``We just have to win games and get points.''
Pittsburgh lost for the 18th time in 20 games and became the first team to
be officially eliminated from playoff contention.
``Officially, I think we were eliminated a long time ago,'' Penguins
defenseman Brooks Orpik said. ``We're in a rebuilding process and everyone knew
what was going to happened once the season started to go that way.''
Brad Stuart, Tom Preissing and Alexander Korolyuk all scored for San Jose,
which improved to 8-1-1 over their last 10.
Konstantin Koltsov and Milan Kraft scored for the Penguins in the third
Stuart opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 13:30 of the first
period. Stuart took a cross-ice pass from Niko Dimitakos and shot the puck over
Penguins rookie goalie Andy Chidio's right shoulder. It was Stuart's fifth goal
of the season.
San Jose increased its lead in the second period when Marleau scored his
27th of the season with 7:21 left.
Preissing scored a power-play goal on a one-timer from Marleau for his
second of the year to make it 3-1 at 10:25 of the third period. Korolyuk put in
a rebound for his 10th of the season at 14:13.
Chidio made 26 saves in just his fourth NHL game. He was the winning goalie
for the Penguins on Wednesday night when they broke their 18-game winless
streak with 4-3 win over Phoenix.
The Sharks went 2-for-6 on the power play while Pittsburgh was 0-for-2.
San Jose placed defenseman Mike Ricci on the injured list before the game.
Ricci strained his right shoulder in Thursday's night's game against Vancouver.
He will be out a week.