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Sharks Roll at HP Pavilion, Stomp Wild 4-1

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The San Jose Sharks played host to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night at HP Pavilion at San Jose. Looking to rebound from their 7-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night, the Sharks came out with authority and took a 1-0 lead on the third shift of the game.

The unusual line combination of Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski and Curtis Brown broke through for the game’s first tally at 2:39 of the first. With three natural centers on the ice, it was the youngster Pavelski who took the draw while Thornton lined up in the slot. Pavelski won the draw cleanly back to Thornton who ripped a slap shot, but the shot was blocked before it could get through to Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom.

Thornton regained control of the puck after his shot attempt was blocked and quickly moved it to Craig Rivet at the point. Rivet moved into the corner in the Wild zone and sent a centering pass that was slammed home by Pavelski for the 1-0 lead.



Wild forward and offensive threat Marian Gaborik nearly tied the game with 15:27 to play in the opening stanza when he snuck in behind the Sharks defense. Marc-Edouard Vlasic was back-checking hard on the play and was able to distract Gaborik while Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov made a strong save moving to his left to keep the Wild off the scoresheet.

Steve Bernier drew the period’s only penalty when a solid forecheck forced Wild defenseman Kurtis Foster to take a hooking penalty. The Sharks power play was unable to extend the lead as San Jose took a 1-0 lead to the locker room after one period of play.

Sandis Ozolinsh had a point-blank chance to make it 2-0 game on a perfect feed from Captain Patrick Marleau and Steve Bernier early in the second, but Backstrom made a strong push to his right and was able to take away the lower half of the net.

Less than a minute after Ozolinsh’s chance, Mike Grier converted on a one-timer from Torrey Mitchell and Patrick Rissmiller and made it 2-0 game. Grier’s goal with 15:43 to play in the second seemed to jump-start the Sharks offense as San Jose’s relentless attack struck twice more.

With 11:12 left in the second, Bernier made it 3-0 on a seeing-eye shot from the faceoff circle to Backstrom’s right. Hard work down low by Marcel Goc freed up the puck and Bernier was able to get enough on the shot to sneak it into the Minnesota cage.

Sharks right wing Steve Bernier is hugged by teammates Marcel Goc and Patrick Marleau after one of Bernier's two second period goals against the Minnesota Wild on Dec. 11, 2007. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Bernier scored his second of the night four and a half minutes later on a power play set up by Goc. With Minnesota defender Brent Burns in the box for slashing, Bernier finished a second-effort shot after Pavelski’s attempt careened off the post. The goal made it a 4-0 game, a lead the Sharks would take into the locker room after two periods of play.

Tempers flared at the midpoint of the third when Kyle McLaren and Wild forward Aaron Voros dropped the gloves after a heated exchange in front of the sharks net. McLaren earned the slight edge in the scrap against the very gritty Voros. Wild enforcer Todd Fedoruk challenged Alexei Semenov moments after the first scrap and the Sharks defender engaged as the two traded heavy punches.

After a questionable interference call on Rissmiller with 9:07 to play, the Wild capitalized after just five seconds with the man advantage. Branko Radivojevic salted Nabokov’s shutout bid with the assists going to Pavol Demitra and Gaborik.

Minnesota pressured in the closing minutes of the third, but the Sharks preserved their 4-1 victory on home ice.

LINEUP
Forwards Curtis Brown and Marcel Goc returned to the lineup, replacing Jonathan Cheechoo (groin) and Jeremy Roenick (knee) who are out. Defenseman Kyle McLaren also returned to the lineup, swapping places with Matt Carle.

Marleau – Goc – Pavelski
Michalek – Thornton – Setoguchi
Rissmiller – Mitchell – Grier
Brown – Bernier

McLaren – Vlasic
Ehrhoff – Rivet
Murray – Ozolinsh
Semenov

Nabokov – Patzold

NEXT GAME

The Sharks continue their four-game home stand on Thursday night when they host the Vancouver Canucks. The game is set for the traditional 7:30 PM (Pacific) start and will be broadcast on FSN Bay Area in high-definition, KFOX 98.5 FM, Sharks Radio Network Affiliates and SJSHARKS.com.
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