The San Jose Sharks rallied for an important point Friday night, but lost on a difficult play that allowed Henrik Sedin to skate in on a breakaway during the overtime period of the 2-1 contest.
“I couldn’t tell you,” said defenseman Kyle McLaren, who was on the ice for the play. “It happened so fast and a guy like that buries his chances.”
Still, even with the world-class skill of Sedin bearing down on him, Evgeni Nabokov made an initial stop.
“I thought I had it,” said Nabokov. “I have to look at it. Either he got the rebound or I kicked it in myself.”
What in fact happened was that Sedin was able to get a second shot off and it went in as Nabokov was trying to make an even more spectacular second stop.
Still, it is hockey and the point earned was important considering the Sharks trailed in the third against one of the NHL’s more dominant netminders.
“We’re not too thrilled about losing, but we’re glad we got one,” said McLaren. “A point is a point. We have a lot of games coming up and we’ll take a point when we can get one.”
The game was tight throughout and could easily be repeated in the postseason in a first round matchup.
“Both teams played well defensively,” said McLaren. “This could be who we face in the playoffs and we know what to expect from them now.”
No matter the opponent, now is the time to rev up for playoff hockey.
“That is what our mentality should be,” said Nabokov. “A playoff game with tough defense. We can’t gamble with those types of teams.”
“There was not much room out there,” said Ron Wilson. “It was a playoff atmosphere. We had a couple of breakdowns and they took advantage.”
With Vancouver ’s third period goal, Evgeni Nabokov’s franchise-record shutout streak was stopped at 166 minutes, seven seconds (166:07). Nabokov held the previous record of 145:07. It also ended a team shutout streak of 167:16, also a new franchise record. The Sharks had been last scored upon at 13:50 of the third period on March 2 at Anaheim .
“Our goaltending has been solid,” said McLaren. “Nabby is getting a lot of the load and playing extremely well. We’re winning games because of our goaltending.”
As usual Nabokov tried to deflect the praise, but even he had to acknowledge he has been playing well. Even with the loss, Nabokov has allowed just one regulation goal in the past three contests.
“I felt pretty good, but the win is more important,” said Nabokov. “Sometimes you have wins and you give up a lot of goals. I try not to pay attention to those things (the record). Obviously if you have those streaks, you give your team a chance to win every night.”
DIFFICULT AT HOME
The Sharks have been road warriors this season, setting a new franchise mark for wins outside San Jose , but Team Teal has surprisingly struggled a bit at HP Pavilion.
“You have to get a point, especially at home,” said Ron Wilson. “We need more guys to play with a sense of urgency at home. Right now it just doesn’t show. Some of our top guys are thinking we’re at home, I can relax. We have got to work for every inch we get out there.”
“We have to use our crowd and rink as an advantage,” said McLaren.
With a goal in the third period, Patrick Marleau has now posted 30 points (14-16=30) in his last 24 games. It also marked Marleau’s second 30-goal campaign.
LEADING THE WAY
Joe Thornton’s assist in the third period gives him 42 assists on home ice, which leads the NHL.
EIGHT IN NINE
Matt Carle has now posted eight points in his last nine games (3-5=8).
CANUCKS HEAD COACH, ALAN VIGNEAULT:
“I think so far this year, this had to be one of the games that looked a lot like the playoffs. Both teams, I thought, competed extremely hard and had to work for every inch on the ice. Both teams were paying attention to all the little things and the details that make a difference, and it was a hard fought battle. We were able to find a way to win and I am really pleased that this was one of our better games of the year at both ends of the rink.”
“We’re used to these pressure situations. I think our guys are enjoying it, they’re going out there and working really hard and that’s all you want from your players.”
The Sharks will hostEdmonton on Sunday in a rare 5 p.m. start at HP Pavilion. Limited tickets are available the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The game will be available on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.