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Comeback Falls Short, Sharks Fold, 3-2 SO

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks
After tying the game on a third period power-play goal by Craig Rivet, the Sharks lost to the Kings 3-2 in shootouts Wednesday night at HP Pavilion.

Wednesday's meeting was San Jose's second of back-to-back games with Los Angeles and Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson used the contest to shake up his lineup. Both Kyle McLaren and Steve Bernier were healthy scratches while Rob Davison returned to the ice following a finger injury.

The netminding matchup was a rematch from the previous contest between Evgeni Nabokov and Jason LaBarbera. Mike Cammalleri was out for L.A. with a pulled groin.

San Jose’s leading goal scorer Joe Thornton came up big just four minutes in to give San Jose the game’s first tally. Taking a shot from the top of the right faceoff circle, his blast found a seam and beat LaBarbera upstairs. Marc-Edouard Vlasic assisted on the play.

Team Teal had to fend off a later Kings power play to maintain their 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.

Both clubs exchanged scoring chances early in the second, but it was an odd shorthanded play that tied the battle for the Kings. Dustin Brown was able to take off on a breakaway while San Jose was on the power play. Nabokov made an amazing stop, but could not initially locate the puck and Anze Kopitar swooped in and poked it in.

The Kings would do more than tie the game in the second. With 2:09 remaining in the stanza, former Shark Tom Preissing skated in deep and found Patrick O’Sullivan at the far end of the crease. The Kings forward was so wide-open, that even though his shot wasn’t on net, it bounced off Nabokov’s pads and in.

After leading by one after 20 minutes, the Sharks would trail by one after 40 minutes.

The Sharks came out playing like a desperate club in the third, drawing two early penalties. Los Angeles did not score on either and the hard work of Thornton, Marleau and Cheechoo laid the groundwork for the tying tally.

The game-tying goal saw the same trio creating chaos out front, allowing the blueliners to hook up for the score. Sandis Ozolinsh assisted with a shot of his own that came back out to Rivet. The veteran acquired last spring gathered control and shot the puck into the net.

With 8:53 left in the third, Los Angeles was in the closing seconds of 1:20 of 5-on-3 time when it looked like Brown would be able to score by reaching to Nabokov’s far glove side. Nabokov felt differently and was able to fling himself to the far post and stop the attack. Team Teal would kill of the remainder of the second penalty as well.

As the game clock wound down under five minutes, Los Angeles’ John Zeiler was called for tripping and Team Teal had a late opportunity to score on the power play. Wilson again threw out the Thornton-Cheechoo-Marleau trio in an effort to find the go-ahead tally, but one puck deflecting wide and another ringing of the post were as close as they would get.

Time expired with both teams tied at two, so the game went into overtime.

Wilson sent out Marleau, Michalek, Ehrhoff and Rivet  for the opening faceoff, but the line played defense for the entirety of their shift. Then Torrey Mitchell came out on the ice. While the other players looked cautious and tired, Mitchell was flying with speed along the boards. The Sharks rookie received the puck at neautral ice, beat his defender to the outside and cut in for a shot on goal, but Labarbera made the sprawling save to preserved the tie. After five minutes, neither team could score and the game went to shootouts.

Shooting first was Roenick for San Jose. Roenick beat Labarbera with a a slap shot over his right pad to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead. Los Angeles responded with a goal by O'Sullivan.

In the second set of shooters, Michalek was stopped by Labarbera and Los Angeles responded with a goal by Kopitar.

Down 2-1, the pressure was on Joe Pavelski. And he delivered. By scoring on Labarbera, Pavleski ignited the crowd and left the fate of the game with Nabokov and Brown.

Having to block the final shot in order to continue the shootout, Nabokov faced off with Brown. The left wing beat Nabokov through the legs and Los Angeles left with the overtime victory.




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