SAN JOSE, Calif. --
The San Jose Sharks defeated the Vancouver Canucks, 3-1, on the strength of power-play goals by Jeremy Roenick, Milan Michalek and a tally by defenseman Craig Rivet on Thursday night at HP Pavilion.
The night's goaltendering matchup featured two of the NHL's elite netminders - Evgeni Nabokov and Roberto Luongo. On the same day he was awarded his 2008 All-Star jersey, Nabokov proved his superior status, making 21 saves while allowing one goal late in the third period.
San Jose couldn’t score on the game’s first power play, but did manage to score the game’s first goal with less than six left in the first period. The Sharks found themselves on a four-on-two rush, with Rivet controlling the play. Vancouver’s defense played the pass the entire way and Rivet kept skating toward the net. Mike Grier had parked himself in front of Luongo and Rivet took advantage of the distraction, potting the go-ahead tally from eight feet out.
When the striped shirts handed the Canucks a 57 second five-on-three power play, Team Teal gave a clinic in killing off shorthanded situations. Whether it was Grier blocking shots, Marc-Edouard Vlasic
single-handedly clearing the puck with two attackers on him or Michalek creating a breakaway, San Jose dominated while down a man. Had a call been made when a Vancouver defender used his stick from behind on Michalek’s hand during the breakaway, the lead may have doubled.
Instead the Sharks would have to settle for the 1-0 lead after 20 minutes. San Jose’s defense limited Vancouver to three shots in the first.
When Joe Pavelski
was drawn down in front of Luongo, the Sharks had an early second period power play. Team Teal had several chances while on the delayed penalty, but when the man-advantage started, the Sharks struck. Jonathan Cheechoo was parked out front, keeping the defense’s attention and, when a rebound came to the side of the net, Jeremy Roenick was there to slide the puck into the open half of the net for the 2-0 lead.
On a third power play of the middle period, the Sharks looked locked to take a 3-0 lead. On the play, Luongo was down and Michalek lifted the puck toward the net. Somehow, Luongo timed his rising stick to deflect the puck and the lead stayed at two.
|Vancouver's Daniel Sedin is denied by Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov in the third period on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2008 in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Dino Vournas) |
Vancouver mounted a counter attack going the other way, but Nabokov stoned Taylor Pyatt’s one-on-one showdown, keeping Vancouver off the scoreboard. After 40 minutes, San Jose held a strong 2-0 lead.
Nabokov pulled out his save of the game three minutes into the third. On the play, Alexandre Burrows snuck behind the defense for a split second and appeared headed for a breakaway. However, Douglas Murray
kept the backcheck on and Nabokov charged the puck, poking it away. Burrows beat everyone to the rebound, but his quick shot from the goal line bounced off the post and caromed right to Nabokov. It was the epitome of the bounces going San Jose’s way.
Vancouver gave the Sharks yet another man-advantage six minutes into the third and this time Michalek would not let Luongo stop him. Things began when Patrick Marleau
delivered a pass to Joe Thornton
skating through the slot. His shot was captured by Michalek at the side of the net and he lifted it above the downed Luongo for goal number three.
With a minute remaining, Vancouver elected to keep Luongo in net and as time expired, the sell-out crowd at HP Pavilion gave the Sharks a standing ovation for their 3-1 victory. LINES
Nabokov-Greiss NEXT GAME
The Sharks return to action Saturday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7:30 p.m. at HP Pavilion. Limited tickets are available at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The contest will be available on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.