It wasn’t the prettiest Sharks victory of the season, but it was two points and Sharks fans, as well as the team, will take it. They needed overtime, but prevailed 2-1 thanks to Evgeni Nabokov and some late heroics from Joe Thornton
“We didn’t play our best and somehow we won,” said Nabokov, who won his NHL leading 30th game of the season.
San Jose surrendered a well above normal 32 shots and many of them tested Nabokov in one-on-one situations.
“Nabby was obviously why we won,” said Thornton. “We owe Nabby a good game.”
“The only reason we have two points is Nabby,” said Wilson.
Team Teal posted just five shots through 40 minutes of action, but rallied for 15 shots in the third.
“We all said Nabby was winning the game and we had to play better,” said Thornton.
“He was stellar like he’s been all year,” said Kyle McLaren. “He is the main reason why we won tonight.”
The game was tied at one when San Jose got the all important shot from Joe Thornton
that provided the overtime winner. Patrick Marleau
was parked out front on a rare overtime power play that was earned by Patrick Rissmiller on the previous shift.
“I tried to go to the far side,” said Thornton. “Either it would hit the net, be a rebound or Patty would tip it.”
San Jose could not put a finger on why the first 40 minutes went as they did, but they are confident they will perform at a higher level Saturday night against Nashville.
“It was weird tonight,” said Thornton. “For some reason we didn’t have our legs, but we won. They’ll (our legs) will be there tomorrow.”
“We can’t come back tomorrow and do that,” said Jody Shelley.
FACING THE FORMER TEAM
Shelley faced his former Blue Jacket team just three games into his Sharks tenure.
“It was fun and exciting,” said Shelley. “They are a good group of guys and deserved to win. Our goalie stole it.”
Shelley picked up an assist on San Jose’s opening tally, his first as a Shark.
“He did a great job on Marcel’s goal,” said Wilson.
Marcel Goc had been a healthy scratch since January 17, but had a nice return, scoring early in the first period.
“It’s good to be back and playing a game,” said Goc. “Jody battled for the puck and I just turned around and shot it.”
Kyle McLaren came back after missing almost a month due to knee surgery, playing in 18 minutes and 40 seconds of action.
“It’s good, everything felt good,” said McLaren. “It’s going to take a little time to get in game shape. You can skate and ride the bike, but nothing beats an old fashioned game.”
Columbus’ Rick Nash was awarded a penalty shot in the second period, but Nabokov made a brilliant move to make the stop. It was Nabokov’s fourth penalty shot of the season and he has now stopped nine out of 12 in his career.
“I was just trying to keep the gap,” said Nabokov. “I knew he was pretty skilled. With that skill, he can shoot, deke, or do whatever. I wanted to limit his room.”
Nabokov also make a strong stop on a Jason Chimera breakaway.
“He has so much speed and I guessed,” said Nabokov. “I guessed right.”
Nabokov said his stellar play was the simply him doing what he is supposed to do.
“That is why I am there,” said Nabokov. “To make the key saves and do my job.”
COLUMBUS HEAD COACH KEN HITCHCOCK
“We did the things we needed to do to win. But we didn’t finish off some of the scoring opportunities. We were not able to get on the power play and build a little momentum. It’s disappointing. We didn’t play long enough to win.”
“We had so many chances in the first two periods and you’re wondering if you’re ever going to score. But we had so many unbelievable chances and we were not finishing. But I thought we competed real hard. Those are the things I’m looking for.”
8 FOR 8
With an assist in overtime, Sandis Ozolinsh has now scored eight points in his last eight games (1-7=8).
Friday’s game marked Joe Pavelski
’s 100th NHL game
Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson spoke to the Ottawa Sun regarding recent trade rumors. The quotes can be found by clicking here
The Sharks host Nashville Saturday night at 7 p.m. at HP Pavilion and limited tickets are still available at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The contest will be aired on FSN Plus, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.