San Jose netminder Evgeni Nabokov shut out the Phoenix Coyotes 2-0 on Thursday night and in the process set a new Sharks regular season shutout record of 170:10. The streak began before the NHL’s All-Star break in the first period against Vancouver on January 20.
Nabokov broke the mark he previously held of 166:07 which he set in the spring of 2007. He has allowed just one goal in his last three starts.
“It’s a team effort,” said Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan. “Obviously has been tremendous the last few games. He’s as sharp now as he has been all year and we’re excited about that. The other players around him did a really good job. Not a lot of second chances and very good penalty killing.”
San Jose’s final point of defense says not much has changed since the he concluded the five days off the team had at the All-Star break.
“I haven’t done anything different,” said Nabokov.
Phoenix kept the pressure on the entire contest and Nabokov was forced to make a highlight worthy glove save with less than two minutes remaining on the clock.
“He’s just been playing great,” said Ehrhoff. “We’re trying to support him as much as we can and will try to keep it going.”
“It was like a playoff game,” said Ehrhoff. “Both teams were physical and both played very well.”
Heading into the Phoenix contest, Christian Ehrhoff and Marcel Goc had combined for four goals. On Thursday they produced both tallies in the 2-0 win.
Ehrhoff provided all the offense necessary in the game when his one-timer provided the 1-0 lead.
“The first goal by Christian gave us the edge,” said Nabokov.
Goc’s empty netter was his second goal of the year.
“Secondary scoring is essential to win a championship and on nights when the big three aren’t scoring and the second line has chances, but they aren’t going in, you have to find it from somewhere and it was the all–German team tonight,” said McLellan. “They were the two guys that got the goals and we’re happy for them.”
Prior to Goc clinching the contest with his tally, San Jose twice hit the post with the net empty.
“Sometimes they go in the net easily and sometimes the post is standing in the way,” said Nabokov.
“It’s kind of odd to hit the post twice,” said Ehrhoff. “If you put 100 pucks out there and tried, it would be tough.”
“I’ve seen one before, but I don’t know if I’ve see two in 25 seconds,” said McLellan. “On the third opportunity we made it count.”
Combined with the crossbar struck by Joe Thornton
on an impossible angled backhander, San Jose clanged three off the iron for the evening.
NO GOALRyane Clowe
appeared to have scored for San Jose, only to have the video goal judge take the tally away.
“I thought it was going to count,” said Clowe. “The ref said he thought it was good, but he just had to check. I had no idea it hit my skate. I saw the replay and can see why (it didn’t count).”
With Boston losing in overtime, the Sharks moved one point ahead of Boston for the NHL points lead and Team Teal has played two less games. Combined with Detroit’s loss, San Jose’s Western Conference lead is now eight points.
With Joe Thornton
, Patrick Marleau
and Olli Jokinen all skating in the contest and all from the same 1997 NHL draft class, it marked the sixth time San Jose has played in a game with the top three picks from a single draft.
COYOTES, HEAD COACH WAYNE GRETZKY
“I thought it was a really good hockey game. It was an intense playoff atmosphere hockey. They are a really good hockey club with great players over there. I was really proud of my team and how hard they played and how we competed as a group. “
“The fans are very vocal and loud and that’s what hockey is all about. I thought our guys played their hearts out.”
“We did get some good chance and Nabokov was Nabokov. I thought Bryzgalov was outstanding and I thought it was a really good hockey game every which way.”
“I thought both teams were extremely physical and tempers flare and that’s what hockey is all about.
They played a hard game and that’s how you win.”
The Sharks will host Chicago on Saturday night at HP Pavilion in a 7:30 p.m. start time that will be carried on CSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com. Tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com.