It may not count in the record books, but Sharks fans were more than happy to acknowledge Milan Michalek’s preseason hat trick in Team Teal’s 4-3 victory against Vancouver Thursday night. The Czech winger typically underplayed the moment.
“It was fun tonight,” said Smith. “We had a couple of chances.”
Three chances to be specific.
Michalek couldn’t quite remember his last hat trick noting is was probably during his junior days in Czech, more than four years ago.
The younger of two NHL playing brothers was impressed with how many Sharks fans sent their caps flying to the ice to acknowledge his achievement.
“It wasn’t too bad,” said Michalek. “I wasn’t expecting anything (in the preseason).”
Michalek and fellow linemate Steve Bernier were centered on the night by Mark Smith who gave Captain Patrick Marleau
the night off.
“It was a pleasure playing with those guys,” said Smith. “I don’t think Patty has anything to worry about though.”
Smith and Bernier stepped to the aid of Matt Carle when he received a cheap shot from Ryan Kesler.
“He got me earlier on the shift and then he got him,” said Smith. “There is no need for that in an exhibition game.”
Evgeni Nabokov made an extremely strong opening appearance, stopping 23 of 23 shots faced. Yet, he was not about to make too much out of one appearance.
“I felt pretty good,” said Nabokov. “My conditioning was good, but it was still an exhibition game and it was not their best lineup. It was a good half game, but I’m not jumping to any conclusions.”
Nabokov is not trying to reinvent the wheel as he looks to return to his All-Star form.
“I’m not trying any different stuff,” said Nabokov. “I won’t try it now if I’m not going to do it in the season.”
Nabokov hopes to get in a couple of complete games before the season begins.
SPANG SURPRISED BY CROWD
When Dan Spang skated out for the contest, it was his first game at HP Pavilion. And while he had played in an NHL arena in Boston, this was likely the largest crowd cheering for his team.
“In the Beanpot, the crowd was split,” said Spang. “I was surprised how many people were here. It was rocking for the first preseason game.”
San Jose will travel to Fresno Saturday for a contest at the Save-Mart Center at 7:30 p.m. Ticktes are still available at www.ticketmaster.com
and the game can be heard on sjsharks.com.