The final result was not two points for the home team, but the Sharks played an excellent contest Thursday night despite suffering a 2-1 shootout loss. The Boston and San Jose combined for 73 shots and while there were just two goals in regulation, the offensive opportunities were plenty. The reason for the lack of goals was the amazing plays by Evgeni Nabokov and Tim Thomas.
“They are two of the best goalies in the league,” said Dan Boyle
. “They both saved their teams from losing the game on a few occasions and both got the job done.”
“You see why they were up for the Vezina the last few years,” said Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan.
Still the Sharks felt they left a point on the table.
“As first look I thought we had a lot of chances to put it away,” said Dan Boyle
. “I’ll probably watch it tonight.”
Sharks Head coach Todd McLellan appreciated his team’s efforts from the puck drop through the five minute overtime period.
“I thought there were two games,” said McLellan. “The first 65 minutes we competed hard. We’ve got to give them credit. The second game, we had four pretty good shooters. You’d expect one goal out of them.”
The Sharks failed to convert on any of their four shootout efforts and Boston won on Zdeno Chara’s blast.
FIRST GOAL CRAZY GOAL
Boston broke the ice in the scoring column with 17:10 left in the second period on a rather unusual play. A Sharks turnover and a nice pass sent Boston’s Daniel Paille in alone on Nabokov with Boyle in pursuit. Nabokov made a perfectly positioned first save, but the rebound came right to Boyle’s skate and was pushed back across the goal line.
“It was a bad bounce,” said Boyle. “What are you going to do?”
The Sharks got on the board themselves with a quick response and it was Joe Thornton
doing it against his former club. First, Thornton fed a puck to the point for Dan Boyle
. Boyle’s subsequent blast was tipped by Dany Heatley and popped above Tim Thomas and into the crease. It was a frenzied race for the puck, but Thornton was able to use his reach and slide it over the line.
“I’m firing,” said Boyle of his intent on the shot. “You’ve got to shoot high. The goalie usually takes up the bottom of the net.”
There were a lot of chances up and down the Sharks lineup, but when the evening closed, only the top line was on the scoreboard.
“The first line is getting it done and the rest of the crew needs to pick it up, the D included,” said Dan Boyle
. “We’ve got to find a way. One goal is not enough most nights to win a hockey game.”
Thornton’s line came away with a goal on the night, but they had to work hard all night for it as the six-foot-nine Chara was matched against them all evening.
“We don’t care who we play against,” said Thornton. “We still had a lot of chances.”
The shootout did not go the Sharks way, but there is one big fan of it in the Sharks lockerroom.
“I love the shootout to be honest,” said Thornton.
When Thornton scored, Sharks fans were adamant vocally about their feelings on the deal.
Certain sections of the arena chanted “thank you Boston.”
MOMENT OF SILENCE FOR EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS
Prior to the contest, the Sharks held a moment of silence for victims of the Haiti earthquake.
Willie O’Ree, the man who broke the color barrier in the NHL, and he did it with the Boston Bruins, was on site for a ceremonial puck drop. Rob Blake helped escort him to center ice for the ceremony. The former NHLer received a standing ovation from much of the HP Pavilion crowd.
WELCOME BACK MANNY
In his first game since Jan. 31, Manny Malhotra received a nice ovation in the first period for a diving play where he was sprawled on the ice and made a pass to help clear the defensive zone.
“It was nice to have Manny,” said Nichol. “He is always in a great position. I nicknamed him the Rock.”
There were no penalties through the first two periods. When there were, they came in a flurry during the third period. A Boston power play was stopped 14 seconds early because of a Blake Wheeler high sticking penalty. Then before the Sharks power play could conclude, the Sharks were whistled again.
Then just as things came to full strength, Boston was called for hooking (thanks to an extraordinary play from Thornton). It marked the fourth penalty in an eight minute span.
On their second power play, it appeared as Thornton had dialed up Heatley on a tape to tape pass, but Thomas slid over the keep the game even.
“We didn’t have any for the first two periods and then there were four,” said Nichol. “It kind of cut everyone’s short, maybe there was one full two minute power play.”
Almost as loud as the goal cheer was the crowd’s response to a one-on-one battle between Nichol, who stands five-feet-nine, and Boston’s Chara, who stands six-feet-nine. As they battled, and Chara went to the ice, the crowd showed their appreciation for Nichol’s efforts.
“I just got under him a little bit,” said Nichol. “I was just trying to cut his arms out and the puck got under his feet. He is a big boy to take down.”
The Sharks will host Edmonton in a 1 p.m. matinee Saturday at HP Pavilion. Tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The contest will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.