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Sharks Lose Game, But Still Hot At The Break

by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks
San Jose could have tightened the Pacific Division race to two points Saturday night, but couldn’t conquer the Blues in the 1-0 loss at HP Pavilion.

Team Teal produced 31 shots on the night, but none would get by Manny Legace.

“We’ve got to give him credit,” said Evgeni Nabokov, who took the loss despite allowing just one tally. “He played really well against our top line.”

“They played great,” said Ron Wilson. “We just didn’t score. We didn’t get our shots off on the second opportunity and he covers the bottom half of the net. It’s obviously one of the main reasons why they’ve bounced back, besides the coaching change. They played really well and that was evident tonight.”

San Jose had an additional 28 shots that never even reached Legace because of strong shot blocking by the Blues. San Jose dominated play, but was not victorious.

“We had the effort, but not the result,” said Nabokov.

“They did a good job having five guys around the puck,” said Mike Grier. “We didn’t have enough traffic at the net and didn’t make it hard for Legace to see the puck.”

Taking a step back, the Sharks have won seven of their last nine contest heading into the All-Star break and have shaved eight points of Anaheim’s division lead. Things are looking good for Team Teal overall.

“We’re in a position to battle and now we have to play harder,” said Nabokov. “It’s going to be really tight with four teams and anybody could be first in the conference. It’s important to come back even more fired up and to understand what we need to do.”

“We have a lot of games left with Dallas and Anaheim,” said Grier. “It’s going down to the wire. Many teams are good enough to earn the number one seed.”

San Jose’s bench boss would have liked the two points from St. Louis, but also likes where his club sits.

“I’m disappointed about tonight,” said Wilson. “You want to go into the break with a win and we could have gotten within two points (of Anaheim). All in all, I am pleased with where we are. It’s rest time.”

The contest’s only goal was on a shot through a Sharks defenseman near the goal line that bounced off Nabokov and in.

“I didn’t see it,” said Nabokov. “He (Guerin) rolled around the net and I just felt it hit my pad and go in.”

The Talking Trees, led by Sharks center Mark Smith, have announced that they will play one show only at THE RED DEVIL LOUNGE, in San Francisco. The show will start at 7:00 p.m. Jan. 21. Come out and enjoy some great music, as the Trees prepare for the release of their debut album - Pura Vida.

Jonathan Cheechoo, Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton (along with Matt Carle in the YoungStars Game on Tuesday), will skate in the NHL’s annual mid-winter classic Wednesday night. All events will be telecast on Versus.

On winning the game:
“It means we’ve got 46 points, and we’ve got a tough game next Friday night against Detroit. Our guys are feeling good about themselves. It was great to finish this game off tonight against certainly one of the hottest teams in the league.”

“Any time you can come into California and get six points, it’s something special against the caliber teams they have out here in the Pacific.”

On Manny Legace’s play:
“Manny is playing the way that I saw him play all last year with the Detroit Red Wings when he had one of the best records in the NHL. Usually when you win in this league, your goalie is, if not your best player certainly up there, and he was tonight.”

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