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Carkner Gets 1st Assist In 1st Game

by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks
San Jose had a strong beginning and a good third in their game with Calgary Monday night at HP Pavilion, but it was not enough to overcome four unanswered goals in the 4-3 loss.

San Jose opened the scoring in the first stanza, usually a good sign of things to come.
Our goal got the momentum going.”

Then Calgary responded and took the commanding 4-1 lead.

“We’ve got to find a way to battle back,” said Cheechoo. “They were getting the puck deep and forechecking hard. We have to be ready to answer.”

The answer is within the Sharks room, but it will take all 20 players dressed to change the direction.

“We need everybody on the same page,” said Evgeni Nabokov. “It starts with me and ends with whoever. Right now one mistake is costing us, so we have to eliminate that.”

Nabokov was whistled for a penalty just as a two minute minor was expiring in the second, creating 3:59 consecutive minutes of power play time for the Flames.

“I was getting up and not trying to trip him,” said Nabokov. “He (the ref) called it, so that was the call.”

Then on a following Flames goal, Nabokov lost his battle for the puck behind the net to a Calgary forechecker. The ensuing pass led to an unobstructed goal.

“I went to play the puck and he outpowered me on the stick,” said Nabokov. “I’ll go play that 10 (of 10) times. I have to help out.”

On another Calgary tally, the Sharks had opportunities to get the puck out, but didn’t.

“It was one freaky bounce where the shot was deflected, but we should have cleared the zone,” said Ron Wilson. “We won two faceoffs and should have been able to clear it.”

Defenseman Matt Carkner had a solid NHL debut while filling in for Doug Murray.

“Going from playing 25-plus minutes in Cleveland to finally getting called up after four years, it is a good feeling,” said Carkner. “I got all the jitters out of the way by the fifth or sixth shift and got more involved in the game.”

That atmosphere was different than the usually quiet venue in Cleveland.

“Everything was unbelievable,” said Carkner. “The crowd was great. I wish it was a better game.”

Still, to get his first NHL assist in his first NHL game was a nice accomplishment and Carkner had plenty of family watching the game.

“Everyone knew the game was on,” said Murray. “I didn’t know I was playing until warm-ups.”

The Sharks have barely reached the 50-game plateau, but Captain Patrick Marleau’s two points helped him tie his career best point total with 57. Marleau has reached the number in each of the past two campaigns.

Joe Thornton’s two helpers kept him atop the NHL assist leader board with 56.

Cheechoo’s tally gave him 32 on the season, the second best single season goal mark every by a Sharks player. Owen Nolan holds the record with 44, a number Cheechoo is set to eclipse at his current pace.
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