A night that started off a bit shaky for the Sharks turned in to a second fun evening at home as Team Teal finished off Minnesota 4-2 after seeing an early deficit.
It wasn’t as if Minnesota let off the gas, it was that they simply could not find a way to solve what seemed to be an impenetrable Evgeni Nabokov. The Sharks netminder stopped pucks form up close, while screened and rockets from the blueline. Whatever Minnesota attempted after their first two goals simply didn’t work.
Nabokov underplayed his amazing stops as he normally does.
“It was work as usual,” said Nabokov. “Sometimes it’s 16 shots and two goals and sometimes its 40 shots and two goals. It all depends on the situation.”
He did say that while he was challenged, the team was there when needed, including a pivotal five-on-three power play for the visitors.
“It was big that the guys helped with rebounds,” said Nabokov. “I think on the five-on-three it was key. Sometimes you get lucky.”
The 19 skaters in front of Nabokov knew it was more than luck.
“Nabby held us in there,” said Marleau.
“(The shots) were point blank, back door and he was able to find them,” said Ortmeyer.
“I think (Nabokov) made some tremendous saves tonight,” said Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan. “He was very good at making big ones when we needed them, and gave us a chance to find our way. I think he did his job in changing the momentum.”
5 IN 5Patrick Marleau
’s two goals were his fourth and fifth in five games, showing he may be able to top the 38 he scored last year.
“Patty has been tremendous,” said McLellan. “It shows you don’t have to wear a letter to be a leader."
Marleau’s speed was what allowed him to score both his goals as he flew by the Minnesota defense.
His first tally tied the game at two. Taking a pass to carry the blueline, he unloaded a shot on Niklas Backstrom that struck the netminder’s mask. Marleau won the race for the puck and poked it in the air. Backstrom touched the rubber disc with this glove, but could not get enough of it to stop it from crossing the line.
The second happened before many fans had even returned to their seats from the intermission. Nine seconds into the third, the speed of Marleau rang up another goal. He blew by two Minnesota defenders to create a breakaway and he easily wristed in the puck. It tied a Sharks record for fastest goal to start the third period that was previously held alone by Bob Errey.
Dany Heatley potted the game-winning goal, giving him five on the season as well as tying Marleau for the team lead. He now has a three-game goal scoring streak. Not a coincidence, Joe Thornton
now has a four-game assist streak.
While an NHL veteran, Jed Ortmeyer was excited to get his first tally as a Sharks player and at being able to get the offense started.
“It’s great,” said Ortmeyer. “Patty was skating and driving and Demers made a great pass.”
On the play Marleau streaked by the defense and recovered a loose puck before sending it to Demers. Marleau enjoyed the assist.
“It’s always nice to be on the ice for someone’s first goal in a Sharks uniform,” said Marleau.
Ortmeyer’s marker also made a statement about how important the other lines will be during the season.
“We can’t rely on the big guys every night,” said Ortmeyer.
The Sharks had several big hits on the night, including one by Devin Setoguchi on Owen Nolan and a monster one by Douglas Murray
that flattened James Sheppard
For the second straight game, the “four in the net pizza you get” Round Table Pizza giveaway was in effect. Any fan taking their ticket into a participating Round Table can receive a free personal pizza with a purchase.
FIRST SHARKS ASSIST
Kent Huskins earned his first point as a Shark, assisting on Marleau’s goal in the second period. Jody Shelley also earned an assist on the goal, his first point of the season.
MINNESOTA WILD COACH TODD RICHARDS
“They worked extremely hard, but it’s tough when you go shorten up your bench like that and you’re playing against a great team like San Jose, who has a lot of speed and can create a lot of things down low. I thought our guys continued to fight, continued to battle. We still generated some opportunities all the way to the final buzzer. So, I’m proud of the way the guys played tonight. It’s disappointing obviously, we lost 4-2, but we did a lot of really good things.”
“I thought our power play generated some opportunities, but I’d really like to see us sustain more pressure in offensive zone time, where we can maybe get some teams running around, but they are doing some good things. We got a goal tonight, and we still created some chance. But, that’s still an area we have to work on.”
The final game of the three-game homestand will be Monday night at 7:30 p.m. against Phoenix. The contest will be available on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com. Tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com.