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Nabokov Strong In Opening Game

by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks
For just the second time in franchise history, the Sharks are off to a 2-0 start, thanks in part to their 2-0 victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday night. Evgeni Nabokov was strong early in the nets as he stopped 14 first period shots and five power plays on the night, however, the defense helped out as well, allowing just 12 shots over the second and third stanzas. Nabokov appreciated the effort in front of him.

“They did a good job of clearing the rebounds,” said Nabokov. “New York was coming to the net hard.”

“We buckled down and Nabokov played a great game,” said Kyle McLaren. “We really clamped down in the second and third. The less time they are in your zone, the less time they have to score.”

While the defense and netminding were great, special teams once again provided the difference. San Jose struck for two power play goals and kept New York off the board when they were up a man.

“We got a couple of power plays early and they completely backed off,” said Ron Wilson.

Matt Carle now has a goal in two consecutive games.

“I was just trying to find an open lane,” said Carle. “It was probably the only time it will happen this year.”

And if you believe that . . .

Christian Ehrhoff made it an all defensive night on the offensive end, when he drilled home a Patrick Marleau pass.

“Patty Marleau had the puck and I snuck in from the blueline,” said Ehrhoff. “It was just a one-timer and I got it in.”

A quick 2-0 start is exactly what the Sharks were hoping for heading into October, as they knew the race for the Pacific Division would start early. Anaheim and Dallas both moved to 2-0 as well and the Kings also won Saturday night.

“It always feels good to win early, but it is one game, nothing more,” said Nabokov. “It is a long 82-game season.”

The goals always make the highlights, but once again, Kyle McLaren provided defensive sparks, flattening Jason Blake. He did not have the only big hit as Mike Grier and Ville Nieminen combined to flatten Bruno Gervais along the end boards.

“Blake was ultimately neutralized with the hit Mac got him with,” said Wilson.

San Jose will travel to Calgary for a 5 p.m. contest on Monday in the first of three consecutive games in Canada. The contest will be available on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and

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