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Sticking To The Game Plan

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks
The San Jose Sharks must have felt the hockey gods were working against them as they hit the iron on four occasions during their contest with Montreal Thursday night. Then the winds then suddenly changed on a simple little play that tied the contest at two, changed the game’s momentum and put the Sharks back on the winning track.


Working on the man advantage, Patrick Marleau (who scored a shorthanded goal earlier) fed Dan Boyle for a shot. Dany Heatley was parked in front and slightly altered the puck’s movement to even the contest.

“The power play got a huge goal,” said Boyle.

“It just bounced off me a little bit,” said Heatley. “He (Price) had made some great saves and usually something like that goes in.”

Then just two and a half minutes later San Jose secured the game-winning tally off the stick of Manny Malhotra. The play happened because of some strong forechecking by Team Teal.

“We stressed all night to get to their D and force turnovers,” said Malhotra. “I’m not sure if Price saw the puck with the screen (via Jed Ortmeyer) in front.”

Part of the reason the Sharks were able to find the victory was they didn’t let a great game by Montreal’s netminder affect them.

“It’s part of the game,” said Malhotra.

“I think we were confident we would eventually get (the goal) with the chances we had,” said Heatley. “With the posts we had, you usually break through.”

NICHOL
Scott Nichol was forced to leave the ice after a dirty hit from behind sent him flying into the boards.

“We’re still waiting on an update,’ said Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan. “It was a dangerous play. I wouldn’t want to see it happen to one of their players and I did not want to see it happen to ours.”

“Scotty Nichol is a tough player and he was in a very vulnerable position,” said Rob Blake.

Even before that hit, the contest was already a bit chippy.

“It was a pretty intense game,” said Blake. “We had to find a way to get that game. That is the game we’re going to see.”

“I think it’s very good preparation for the playoffs,” said Boyle. “It is a good character builder.”

IN THE PIPES
A big part of why the Sharks were able to come back was Evgeni Nabokov held the Canadiens at bay to keep his club within a goal.

“Especially in the third, he kept it 2-1 for a long time,” said Heatley.

EFFORT
The Sharks had one of those games that could have been complimented no matter what the result because they maintained the game plan.

“We probably could have lost the game 2-1 and I would tell you the same thing about the way we played,” said McLellan.

900
Joe Thornton played in his 900th career NHL game.

SHORTHANDED
Patrick Marleau scored his fourth shorthanded goal of the season, tying Alex Burrows for second-most in the NHL behind Marian Hossa’s five. It was also Marleau’s 39th goal of the season, a new career single-season high. The Sharks now have eight shorthanded goals overall and are tied with Atlanta for second-most in the NHL.

BACK IN FIRST
Dany Heatley scored his 15th power play goal of the season (33rd overall of the season), tying him for first in the NHL in PP goals with Steven Stamkos.

D POINTS
Dan Boyle’s 35th assist of the season (on Heatley’s goal) put him in a tie for fourth with Tomas Kaberle for most points (46) scored by a defenseman thus far in the 2009-10 NHL season.

FACEOFFS
The Sharks took 42 of 61 faceoffs (69%) tonight. Malhotra won 6 of 7 draws (86%), Thornton took 10 of 15 (67%) and Joe Pavelski won 13 of 18 (72%).

SHARKS HEAD COACH TODD McLELLAN
“I think that’s the way it’s going to be down the stretch. I’m glad we got to play in that game.
When you’re in the middle of it and down a goal, you’re wishing you can score. By the end of the night we stuck with the plan and won the game. But those are good games for us to play in.”

“Is it frustrating to see the goaltender make as many good saves as he made? That’s what happens at this time of year. Goalies step up and you have to find a way to beat them.”

“I was pleased with the way our team responded tonight.”

MONTREAL HEAD COACH JACQUES MARTIN
“(On Goaltender Carey Price) He played extremely well and I think you couldn’t fault him on the goals tonight.”

“It was a difficult game to get any flow. There were a lot of penalties. I think there were a lot of frustrations tonight.”

“I think it’s a game where there was probably some inconsistency. I think it made it difficult for the players to play at times and it developed some frustrations.”

NEXT GAME
San Jose will host Columbus Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. and tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The game can be found at CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.





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