Everyone associated with the San Jose Sharks hoped that the team would start the 2006-07 season strong.
Those wishes are coming true.
San Jose won its second straight game to begin the season as they shutout the New York Islanders, 2-0, on Saturday night before a sold out crowd of 17,496 at HP Pavilion at San Jose.
Evgeni Nabokov stopped all 26 Islanders shots to pick up his first shutout of the season and his franchise record 28th with the Sharks. Both San Jose goals were scored by the defense and on the power play in the first period by Matt Carle (his second) and Christian Ehrhoff (his first).
San Jose had to go into penalty kill mode at 5:03 of the first period as Mike Grier was called for hooking. The Sharks had killed all three of their short handed situations on Thursday night against St. Louis, while the Islanders were 1-for-7 with the man advantage vs. Phoenix. However, no damage was done as the Sharks were able to kill the first penalty.
The Sharks went back into short handed mode at 8:16 when Milan Michalek was called for hooking. But once again, the Sharks killed the penalty.
At 13:44, the Sharks got their first power play opportunity of the night as Chris Simon was called for slashing. And the Sharks took advantage. At 13:51, Patrick Marleau
had the puck on the right wing in the Islanders end and passed it to Steve Bernier in the slot. However, Bernier fanned on the one-timer but Carle got the loose puck and fired a shot into the open net to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead.
San Jose got their second power play opportunity of the night when Andy Hilbert was called for hooking at 17:12. Once again, the Sharks defensemen played a role. Ehrhoff took a pass in the high slot from Marleau in the left corner and put the puck past Rick DiPietro at 17:33 to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead.
Despite outshooting San Jose, 14-9, the Islanders ended the first period down, 2-0.
At 2:33 of the second period, New York’s Bruno Gervais was called for hooking and that gave the Sharks their third power play opportunity. But the Islanders were able to stop the Sharks.
San Jose got its fourth power play chance of the night when Brendan Witt was called for holding at 10:09. However, the Islanders were able to stifle the Sharks.
The Islanders went on the power play at 18:10 when Joe Thornton
was called for tripping. But by the end of the second period, the Sharks were still leading, 2-0, and outshot New York in the period, 14-5.
The start of the third period saw the Sharks go on their fifth power play when Shawn Bates was called for holding at 1:44. San Jose didn’t score, but things started to get interesting after that penalty. At 6:10, Carle (interference) and Simon (unsportsmanlike conduct) went to the box to create a 4-on-4 situation. But less than a minute later at 6:10, Josh Gorges was called for hooking, giving the Islanders the man advantage on a 4-on-3.
The Sharks stalled the Islanders power play and came up empty on one of their own chances when Sean Hill was called for holding the stick at 8:36.
The parade to the penalty box continued when Ville Nieminen was called for hooking at 14:35. But the Sharks killed the penalty and despite being outshot by the Islanders in the third period, 7-4, held on for the win.
The only time the Sharks won their first two games of the season was in 1999-00 when San Jose won its first three games…Both San Jose goals came on the power play. The Sharks are now 4-for-14 with the man advantage…San Jose outshot New York, 27-26…Nabokov’s lone shutout last season was a 2-0 win in Ottawa on Jan. 12…Bernier assisted on both goals to give him a team-leading four…The next Sharks game against an Atlantic Division opponent is Nov. 2 when the New York Rangers come to HP Pavilion. In fact, San Jose plays all Atlantic Division teams at home this season. Pittsburgh comes to Silicon Valley on Nov. 4, followed by Philadelphia (Nov. 18) and New Jersey (Nov. 25).
San Jose begins a three-game Canadian road swing in Calgary on Monday night at 5 p.m. The game will be aired on FSN Bay Area and on the Sharks Radio Network.