San Jose ended a brief two-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory against the New York Rangers on Saturday night and the win was a nice bounce back coming off a tough loss in Detroit just two nights ago.
“It was really important for our team,” said Evgeni Nabokov, who backstopped the victory. “We didn’t give our best in Detroit for whatever reason.”
The Sharks weren’t exactly playing a pushover as they rebounded against the Atlantic Division leading Rangers.
“They are a great team and have been near the top in the Eastern Conference all year,” said Nabokov. “We knew it would not be easy.”
When a club is as successful as the Sharks, antennae are raised when a two-game skid hit, but it cannot be overlooked that San Jose are still an amazing 17-0-2 at HP Pavilion this season.
The Sharks have been strong in the special teams category all season and they used their power play to jump to a fast 2-0 lead. Team Teal had more than a minute of five-on-three time in the first period and managed to score on both opportunities.
“The power play’s two quick goals got us off to a great start, and we hung on,” said Nabokov.
Hanging on was the key word as the Sharks saw New York control the play for much of the third period. The Sharks were still a bit road weary and adjusting to being back in the Pacific time zone while the Rangers had been resting in California.
“They were sitting here a couple of days waiting on us,” said Ryane Clowe
. “We found a way to win tonight.”
“It wasn’t easy the last part of the third,” said Dan Boyle
who scored the game’s first goal. “We bent, but we didn’t break. We’ve got to be better than that.”
“Even in the last 15-18 minutes, when we had nothing left, we were still a determined team,” said Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan. “We’ll take it.”
San Jose will look to find their legs prior to Tuesday’s contest with Vancouver and tighten up their puck control.
Boyle not only opened the scoring, but finished second on the club in minutes played for the evening.
“It’s hard not to like Dan Boyle
,” said McLellan. “He plays 25 minutes a night and doesn’t seem to tire. When we need someone to settle it down and take control, he is the guy.”
The victory was just the Sharks fifth win against the Rangers in 26 contests.
’s first period goal was his 14th goal of the season and nine have come on the power play.
Prior to the contest, the Sharks had original owner George Gund drop a ceremonial puck and the crowd appropriately cheered the man who brought major league sports to San Jose.
On his personal web site, roenicklife.com, Sharks winger Jeremy Roenick is holding a raffle to help raise funds for the Aubri Brown Club. The raffle includes airfare, hotel accommodations and tickets to a specific Sharks game. The organization was started by former Shark Curtis Brown and his wife Ami to help families who have lost a child.
Roenick’s site is now also stocked with hockey related jerseys, sticks and other memorabilia.
added two assists in the contest, bringing his team leading total to 29. Thornton’s second assist of the night came on Patrick Marleau
’s team leading 17th goal of the season. Marleau (17-20=37) and Thornton (8-29=37) share the team lead in points with 37.
Marleau’s game-winner moved him into a first place tie in the NHL with five.
RANGERS HEAD COACH TOM RENNEY
“There were a couple of times there where we had them sort of spent and we weren’t able to get it in the net. Their goaltender played great. We waited a little too long to sort of turn up the heat a little bit on them. Had we done that a little bit earlier, we would have had a different outcome.”
“[Our penalty kill] has been so good and you’re going have one of those nights and obviously this is the one, and hopefully the last one, mind you. But our penalty kill has been so good this year. It was a tough way to start the game, but our guys battled. We were able to hang in there, turn the tide a bit, get a couple goals of our own and make a game of it.”