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Sharks Win Fourth Straight, Blank Coyotes 1-0

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks

GLENDALE, Ariz. –
The San Jose Sharks (15-8-4) won their fourth consecutive one-goal game, defeating the Phoenix Coyotes (12-15-0) on Friday night, 1-0. Milan Michalek scored the lone goal of the evening on a brilliant feed from Joe Thornton with 15 seconds remaining in the second period to earn the victory.

Evgeni Nabokov was perfect between the pipes, making 27 saves en route to his third consecutive shutout against the Coyotes. Phoenix has only scored once on Nabokov in four meetings this season as the Sharks netminder extended his shutout streak against the Coyotes to 230:13.

Though the Sharks had outscored the Coyotes by a combined 15-1 in their last three meetings, the two teams matched up evenly on Friday night, skating stride-for-stride throughout most of the game. Both teams played well defensively in the first, resulting in minimal scoring changes for each. San Jose drew the only penalty of the period on a busted play by Phoenix defenseman Zbynek Michalek.



As Zbynek controlled the puck in his own zone, he attempted to make a break out pass to one of his teammates up ice. Instead, his stick snapped in two and his brother, San Jose’s Milan Michalek, grabbed the puck and forced his brother into an interference penalty. Milan and the Sharks were unable to capitalize on the ensuing power play.

The game opened up offensively with some four-on-four action in the second when Joe Pavelski and Phoenix’s Daniel Carcillo were whistled for coincidental unsportsmanlike conduct penalties at 12:56. Each team had a pair of scoring chances, but neither team was able to capitalize as the game remained scoreless.

Phoenix earned a rare four-on-three man advantage when Torrey Mitchell was called for hooking during the Pavelski and Carcillo minors, but the top-ranked Sharks penalty kill rose to the occasion and quickly disposed of Phoenix’s man advantage.

As the second period drew to a close, Jeremy Roenick won a key faceoff in the Phoenix zone to help set up the lone goal of the night. After Thornton was tossed from the faceoff circle, Roenick stepped in and won the draw back. Thornton gathered the puck then set up behind the Phoenix cage, in perfect position to find a streaking Michalek. Thornton’s tape-to-tape pass found Michalek and his shot beat Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov for the 1-0 lead.

Phoenix made a strong push in the third, forcing Nabokov to make some critical saves down the stretch. The two teams saw more four-on-four action in the final minutes when Carcillo and Alexei Semenov were sent off for coincidental minors with 5:09 remaining.

Patrick Rissmiller was whistled for high-sticking Keith Ballard with just 47 seconds to play, setting up Phoenix’s third power play of the night. Bryzgalov was pulled for the extra attacker, but the Coyotes were unable to solve Nabokov on the six-on-four advantage as time expired.

SIMPLY DOMINANT

Joe Thornton extended his point streak to five games, earning the primary assist on Milan Michalek’s second period goal. Including Friday night’s contest, the Sharks have scored 12 goals in their last five games with Thornton factoring into the scoring 11 times (four goals, seven assists).

HE’S OKAY, HE’S A HOCKEY PLAYER

It was a scary moment with under 10 minutes to play in the third when Phoenix defenseman Derek Morris was struck in the face by a deflected shot in front of the Coyotes net. Morris exited the ice immediately with a gash above his right eye, but returned to the game less than five minutes later after receiving 10 stitches to his forehead to close the cut. The gritty defender played two shifts after temporarily being sidelined.

MORRIS MAKES PRO DEBUT
Sharks prospect Mike Morris made his professional debut for the Worcester Sharks, San Jose’s top development AHL affiliate, on Friday night in Worcester. Morris missed the first 19 games of the season due to a sports hernia.

San Jose’s first round selection (27th overall) in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft posted an assist on Derek Joslin’s second period power play goal and was selected to shoot second in the shootout, but failed to convert in his shootout attempt. Worcester fell to the rival Manchester Monarchs 4-3 (SO).

LINEUP
Michalek – Thornton – Cheechoo
Marleau – Pavelski – Setoguchi
Rissmiller – Mitchell – Grier
Roenick – Bernier

Ehrhoff – Rivet
Ozolinsh – Vlasic
Murray – Carle
Semenov

Nabokov – Patzold

NEXT GAME
The Sharks return to action on Saturday night in San Jose for the back-end of back-to-back contests, facing the Buffalo Sabres for the first time since Joe Thornton’s first game in Teal in 2005-06. The game is set for 7:30 PM (Pacific) 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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