The San Jose Sharks earned their first home victory of the season Saturday night a strongly finished 3-0 performance. Things started a little slow for the home team, but they persevered and finished with the upper hand.
“We can play better, especially at home,” said winning netminder Evgeni Nabokov.
The game-winner came on a classic one-timer from Jeremy Roenick. It marked tally 498 for his career and it came on a cross-ice pass from Joe Thornton
. Roenick almost connected for a second goal later in the contest.
“It could have been 499,” said Roenick. “The win is more important. It was big to win in this building.”
Roenick was switched to Thornton’s line during the contest and he logged quite a bit of ice time. He has noted previously that he’s coming with a smile on his face, whether he’s on the first or fourth line.
“Whether I’m playing six or 16 minutes like tonight, I want to be a big part of this team,” said Roenick. “Absolutely (on enjoying playing on the first line). When the opportunity is there, I want to make the best of it. It is easy to play with Joe and Milan. He draws so much attention.”
Roenick has missed the last few practices with a sore knee, but stepped up at game time.
“It felt good,” said Roenick of his injury. “We’ll just watch it and take care of it.”
“Jeremy came to me at the morning skate and said he was ready,” said Wilson. “I had two lineups ready and if a couple of guys were not ready, I was ready to change lines.”
Evgeni Nabokov posted his first shutout of the season, stopping all 22 Nashville shots. Like Roenick, he wasn’t as concerned with individual accomplishments.
“The most important thing is getting the win,” said Nabokov. “We worked hard. Now we have to go on the road and dig in again. We’ve got to play and get into it.”
A major difference in the game was San Jose scored the only goal in the first 40 minutes via the power play and Team teal snuffed out all six Nashville power plays.
“We did a good job,” said Nabokov. “We blocked a lot of shots and moved very well. We got the puck out with high flips and stuff like that. Those details were key.”
The Sharks were far from perfect on the night, but they did vastly improve over their first two home outings. Still Wilson knows there is work to do.
“Some guys’ efforts have to improve a lot,” said Wilson. “You can’t rely on what you did last year or two years ago. I’ll play a guy who is competing and digging in. If you make a turnover every time you step on the ice, we can’t afford to play (that player).”
During the preseason, Wilson experimented with Rob Davison as a forward and he put him that role Saturday night.
“We need more sandpaper in the lineup,” said Wilson. “We’ve got a few who have taken it out of there tool box. They don’t have to do that anymore. If they don’t like it, they can call their congressman, file a complaint and I’ll hear about it eventually. He adds an element we need sometimes. We have guys who can do it, but they feel it’s below them.”
Wilson would ideally prefer he not need to shuffle lines as often as he has been forced to do.
“We shook up the lines and some people responded really well,” said Wilson. “If you’re a professional, you don’t need the coach spanking you, banging you on the head, changing lines or sitting you down for good periods of the game. I shouldn’t have to do it. At least tonight I’ll get a decent night’s sleep tonight and six or seven guys won’t.”
Sharks Captain Patrick Marleau
added the insurance tally late in the third to make the lead two goals. It may not have been the cleanest goal every, but it counted just as much. The puck was slowed by the defender and then bounced over and behind Mason.
“The D got his stick on it just as I was shooting,” said Marleau. “It was nice that it trickled over.”
It was just Marleau’s second tally in eight contests, but the opportunities have been coming.
“The line has been getting chances,” said Marleau. Torrey Mitchell
set Marleau up with a perfect pass in the neutral zone, marking his first assist at HP Pavilion.
“I didn’t have to break stride,” said Marleau.
Team Teal will depart for Calgary on Sunday for a Monday 6 p.m. battle with the Flames. The contest will be available on the NHL’s Center Ice package, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com