San Jose fell to Vancouver 2-1 Friday night as an unlikely overtime breakaway by Henrik Sedin provided the deciding tally, but the Sharks have now managed to capture five of the last six available points as they prep for the postseason.
Evgeni Nabokov started his 10th consecutive game in the absence of Vesa Toskala.
Both clubs had the offense opened up early. Nabokov was forced to make a stop on a two-on-one and another big early save, while on the other end, Roberto Luongo stopped two early Sharks rushes.
Team Teal controlled the offensive zone time in the opening seven minutes and earn the game’s first power play when Sami Salo was forced to trip Jonathan Cheechoo behind the net. A later penalty to Luongo for handling the puck outside the trapezoid (which he was forced to do because of offensive pressure from Patrick Marleau
), gave San Jose 17 seconds of five-on-three time. The Canucks killed off the first advantage despite a post from Steve Bernier.
San Jose was all over Luongo as two more pucks trickled through the crease, but the All-Star netminder stood his ground.
The offensives slowed a bit later in the first and the opening period ended scoreless with each team registering seven shots on goal.
The two teams traded chances to open the second period as the pace of play picked up considerably.
With 12:42 to play in the second, Ryane Clowe
decked Canucks defenseman with a huge hit. But referee Gord Dwyer felt that Clowe’s hit was too far away from the puck and the feisty left winger was whistled for interference.
The Sharks killed the penalty solid play by the penalty killing unit combined with some textbook saves by Nabokov.
The shots were more frequent in the second period, but the scoring chances were more limited than the opening 20 minutes. Nabokov and the Sharks did survive a scare in the period’s last eight seconds when a wide-open Taylor Pyatt was handcuffed by a pass at the far post.
Scoreless after 40 minutes was not a surprise considering the netminding matchup.
The Canucks were the club that finally broke the scoreboard goose eggs. Early in the third, Pyatt scooped up a loosed rebound and tucked it past Nabokov. Pyatt’s tally ended a personal shutout streak, which was also a new Sharks individual shutout record, of 166:07. The last goal scored against him was back on March 2 against Anaheim. It also ended the Sharks club record 167:16 shutout streak.
When Vancouver looked to make it 2-0 midway through the third, they forgot to ask Nabokov. San Jose’s netminder made a spectacular save on a Matt Cook and Markus Naslund two-on-one. The Nabokov had to save his own bacon as he made and errant pass up the middle and got back just in time for the stop.
That save seemed to rejuvenate the Sharks offense as the Goc line threw everything but the kitchen sink at Luongo, but the Quebec netminder against made all the key stops.
With eight minutes remaining, Henrik Sedin was got hooking Joe Pavelski
and the Sharks power play would take a chance at tying the game. And that is exactly what happened.
Thornton carried the puck into the zone, allowing Patrick Marleau
to enter with speed. When the Hart Trophy winner fed the Captain, Marleau quickly ripped it five-hole on the butterfly stopper. It marked the second time in his career that Marleau had reached the 30-goal plateau.
Then with 3:25 remaining, Naslund clipped Marc-Edouard Vlasic
up high and the power play had a chance to provide the lead. Ryane Clowe
and Pavelski had chances up close on Luongo, but could not provide the late tally.
The deciding tally would not come in regulation as the 1-1 tie went to overtime.
A defensive lapse in the last 1:30 of overtime sent the home crowd away unhappy. Henrik Sedin was sent in on a breakaway and was able to score the tally. It was not without a brilliant effort by Nabokov who stopped the first shot, but was unable to prevent Sedin from knocking the puck in on a second effort.
The Sharks did salvage a point with the overtime victory as they have grabbed five of the last six available points.
Team Teal will host Edmonton Sunday in a rare 5 p.m. start. Limited tickets are still available at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The game will be aired on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.