SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- While Todd Bertuzzi took out his frustration on
water bottles, the San Jose Sharks calmly increased the NHL's largest division
Alex Korolyuk had a goal and an assist, and Evgeni Nabokov made 34 saves in
the Sharks' 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night in a
meeting of division leaders.
Alyn McCauley and Jonathan Cheechoo also scored for the surprising Sharks,
who moved seven points ahead of Los Angeles in the Pacific Division. San Jose,
widely thought to be in a rebuilding season, got another win with another fast
start and another fine goaltending performance.
"Your offense will improve when you believe your goalie is unbeatable,"
Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "You'll take more chances up the ice, and you'll
be rewarded. ... We played really aggressive and attacking hockey, and Nabby
was part of the reason."
NHL scoring leader Markus Naslund got the only goal for the Canucks, whose
franchise-record eight-game road winning streak was snapped.
The Canucks' frustration with their poor start and Nabokov's brilliance
showed when Bertuzzi got a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct midway through a
Vancouver power play in the second period. Bertuzzi, a starter in next month's
All-Star game, used his stick to knock down water bottles and a towel in the
"It just basically comes down to scoring goals, and we're not getting
enough goals," said Bertuzzi, who hasn't scored a goal in eight games. "We
can't rely on Markus every night. I can only be patient for so long. I'm
getting very frustrated."
Nabokov was sharp throughout, but he made a series of amazing saves in the
second period, stopping four straight shots by Henrik Sedin with his extended
left pad while sprawled on the ice.
"It's unbelievable," Sedin said. "I had three shots in a row, and then
the last chance went underneath him. Unbelievable."
Naslund has 53 points in 45 games, but his teammates were mostly outclassed
by the Sharks' faster, smarter play. Dan Cloutier made 27 saves for Vancouver,
which hadn't lost on the road since Dec. 17 at Dallas.
San Jose has won nine of its last 12 meetings with the Canucks.
The Sharks had another of the impressive starts that are becoming their
trademark. They pounded Cloutier with 10 shots in the first 10 minutes before
the Canucks got their first shot, and San Jose was rewarded when Korolyuk
sneaked behind the net and scored an unimpeded wraparound goal on his 28th
Less than a minute later, Vancouver defensemen Marek Malik and Ed Jovanovski
inexplicably allowed a loose puck to roll from the boards into the slot, where
Cheechoo beat Cloutier with a one-timer for his career-best 13th goal.
"We've just got back to the way we'd been playing earlier in the season
with our fast starts," Cheechoo said. "We put a lot of pressure on them from
the start. That's the way we can do it every night."
The Sharks went up 3-0 early in the third period when Cloutier was caught
out near the blue line while foolishly playing the puck. McCauley scored from
an awkward angle near the boards.
But Nabokov lost his shutout 19 seconds later when Naslund scored his 25th
goal of the season on a rebound of Jason King's shot.
"We face everybody pretty well the same," McCauley said. "I think that
allows us to execute our plays and do the things that we want. They are a
talented club over there. Maybe that just brings out the best in us and we're
ready, knowing that these guys can bring a lot of offense and score goals in
The Sharks played without second-leading scorer Marco Sturm, who injured his
chest late in Tuesday night's 3-0 loss to Dallas. Sturm hasn't skated since,
but he will be re-evaluated before Saturday night's game at Colorado.