San Jose squared off with the Minnesota Wild for the second time in the young season and again Minnesota’s Marian Gaborik was out with an ailment. Manny Fernandez and Evgeni Nabokov were the featured netminders in San Jose's 3-1 victory.
Scott Parker dressed for the first time on the season.
for video highlights of tonight's game.
Sharks fans had a quick scare early in the first when a blocked shot hit Jonathan Cheechoo in the head, cutting the Maurice Richard winner. He did skate off under his own power and went to the locker room and returned to start the second.
Seconds later San Jose opened the scoring. Flying down the left wing on a three-on-two-rush, Patrick Marleau
found Christian Ehrhoff across the ice and he in turn centered Mike Grier out front. The right wing swiped at the puck and, although Fernandez managed to touch the shot, Grier saw it trickle across the goal line. It marked Grier’s fifth point in the last five games.
The crowd roared again moments later when Parker smashed Kurtis Foster into the boards.
San Jose would make it 2-0 with Grier’s linemate striking. A Matt Carle pass to the net bounced off a defender to Joe Thornton
andthe big center simply reached around and tucked the puck behind Fernandez.
With six minutes left in the first, Minnesota would close the gap. Todd White got loose in the low slot and quickly released his shot when the puck arrived. Nabokov found most of the rubber, but not enough as it trickled behind him.
The first period ended with a four minute high-sticking penalty being called against Kyle McLaren. Coupled with an interference call on Josh Gorges, the Wild had a five-on-three.
Team Teal began the second period by killing the first of two penalties, thanks in part to a penalty to the Wild’s Foster.
Midway through the second, Team Teal had 35 seconds of their own five-on-three time, but Cheechoo’s shot rang off the post. San Jose could not convert on the second power play either.
With five mintues remaining in the second, Minnesota appeared prime to score with a two-on-one rush, but a stellar read by Scott Hannan forced the Wild into a simple backhander and Nabokov easily handled the puck. San Jose was strong on a follow-up power play, but could not convert.
The Sharks would earn two great offensive chances in the final two minutes of the second period, but Fernandez single handedly held the Wild in the game. Marleau had an exceptional sequence where he earned two quality chances for the Sharks, but Team Teal was unable to capitalize.
The Sharks best chance came with just 56 seconds remaining in the period. The Sharks put the puck in on Manny Fernandez and Ryane Clowe
was on the receiving end of a perfect bounce on a rebound. Clowe found himself at the edge of the crease with the puck on his backhand. Fernandez sprawled towards the puck and was luckily able to turn aside Clowe's shot, keeping it a one-goal game after two periods of play.
San Jose continued controlling play in the third, but could not add the insurance tally early. Marleau had a goal disallowed due to a distinct kicking motion the Steve Bernier just missed redirecting a shot on the fly. Midway through the third, San Jose was outshooting Minnesota 29-16, but led by just one.
Minnesota came ever-so-close to tying the contest on their next effort, but stellar netminding by Evgeni Nabokov preserved the lead. An initial shot rang of the pipe and when the rebound appeared headed across the line, Nabokov reached out and covered the puck.
With 4:55 left in the third, the Captain provided a bit of breathing room. Mark Smith led a three-on-two rush down the left wing. Drawing the defender toward him, Smith’s pass to the trailing Marleau hit him in stride and the sniping center fired inside the far post before Fernandez could move over.
Late in the game the Wild would threaten, but Nabokov stood on his head, much as he did throughout the game. Minnesota would pull Fernandez and take their shot with the extra attacker, but the Sharks clogged up the middle of the ice and contained the Wild attack, giving Team Teal the 3-1 victory.
San Jose will head out on the road, beginning with a contest in Los Angeles Thursday night. The contest is available on FSN+, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.