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Great Night All The Way Around

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks
There were numerous story lines from the Sharks 5-0 victory against the defending Stanley Cup Champions. There was Evgeni Nabokov’s 49th career shutout. Goals and points from numerous Sharks players. Joe Pavelski’s return to the lineup. In the end the best part of the story may have been the 60 minutes of hockey that the Sharks completely dominated Pittsburgh. They simply never let up the entire night.

“It was a very good night,” said Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan. “We executed the game plan. The leaders did a very good job of preparing the team.”

San Jose started strong the moment the puck was dropped and that made the coaching staff happy as the scenario was a problem in their last return home.

“It was a good first period,” said Dan Boyle.

So was the second period and in the third the Sharks slammed the door shut.

“When you are up 4-0 after two, you don’t want to give them a chance,” said Dany Heatley.

Pittsburgh was missing few key players, but it does not take away from the Sharks doing their job.

“We can’t forget they had two of their best players (Malkin and Gonchar) out,” said Nabokov. “We pushed the pace and were a step ahead of them the whole time. We worked hard for 60 minutes.”

Pavelski’s return was scripted nicely as he scored a goal in his return. On the tally, he took a feed in the slot from fellow Wisconsin Badger Dany Heatley and redirected the puck to the back of the net.

“It’s been a while, going back to last regular season,” said Pavelski about scoring. “Dany made a good play.”

The pass was possible thanks to hard work along the boards for a loose puck.

“It was a good play with Ryane and Manny on the boards,” said Pavelski.

It was almost a two goal return, but it was necessary for Heatley finish off another play, leaving Pavelski with a helper as well. In the end everyone enjoyed seeing Pavelski on the ice.

“It put smiles on everyone’s faces seeing him back in the lineup,” said McLellan. “He is a very intelligent player. We didn’t use him as we usually would, but as his game condition gets back, he’ll get back in a regular routine.”

“He didn’t miss a step,” said Heatley. “He should have had two goals. I kind of stole the other one from him.”

The shutout by Nabokov was the 49th of his stellar career and he made 27 stops in the effort. One taboo in hockey is to not talk about a potential shutout, but it was on the minds of everyone in the lockerroom after 40 minutes.

“Nabby’s kept us in (so many games) and we really wanted to keep the shutout for him,” said Heatley. “We wanted to keep the foot on the gas and not give them chances.”

“The boys were playing well and that helped out a lot,” said Nabokov. “Any time the goalie gets a shutout, there are two things. First you are a little bit lucky and the team had a heck of an effort.”

It is no coincidence that Nabokov is very hot recently and the Sharks have shot to the top of the standings.

“Nabby has been tremendous lately,” said McLellan. “He’s really playing well and as long as he’s playing well, we’ll keep playing him.”

Jamie McGinn got the scoring started and his tally held up for the game-winner. On the play, McGinn chased down the loose puck created by his initial shot and fired it back at Marc-Andre Fleury from near the goal line. The puck found its way in. Not a thing of beauty, but the effort was what impressed the coaching staff.

“Jamie was the player we expected to see out of training camp,” said McLellan. “Basically he was Mr. Hustle.”

With the Penguins high-powered attack on the ice, McLellan acknowledged paying attention to who was on the ice all night for Pittsburgh.

“We decided to have Jumbo’s line against (Crosby’s),” said McLellan. “We were very confident with Patty and Manny playing against them as well. As a staff we felt Staal was their best player (recently) and we wanted Patty against that line.”

After the game, McLellan noted Rob Blake would miss a couple of weeks with his upper body injury.

During the game the Sharks game presentation crew gave a nice acknowledgement to former player Tony Granato, an assistant on the Penguins staff. Granato gave a quick wave on the big screen back for the fans.

With Blake out, Patrick Marleau has been wearing an A on his uniform as an additional Alternate Captain.

With the game out of hand, the Penguins were a little agitated in the third. Jody Shelley responded in two bouts and left the game to chants of “Shelley, Shelley.”

For those wondering about the red and black poppies being worn around the NHL during recent games, it is a Canadian tradition for Remembrance Day, a day to recall the sacrifices of armed service members.

With assist in the second period, Joe Thornton added to his league leading total of 18.

Pittsburgh is now winless in their last nine (Sharks are 8-0-1) visits to HP Pavilion. Pittsburgh’s last win in San Jose was Oct 27, 1997.

“The style of hockey that we like to play is executing with the puck. Going back and making a play under pressure. Dealing with the forecheck and getting out of the defensive zone. Going north and getting to the offensive zone. It’s less taxing…it can be an easier game to play. The way we play may look different based on who is in our lineup. But we try to go out and execute based on the players we have healthy on a given night.”

“I think we got behind the eight ball at one to nothing. They got a power play goal with five minutes left in the first. The game got out of hand with the score and maybe we kind of lapsed in our game. When it got to be two to nothing they came hard and put the pucks behind our defense. We just weren’t ready to play the type of game that they came ready to play.”

The Sharks will play next Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. against Nashville. The game will be available on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and and tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at sjsharkscom.

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