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Nabokov's solid play knocks Stars from unbeaten ranks

Oct 18, 2006 - 5:10 AM SAN JOSE, California (Ticker) -- Evgeni Nabokov had the magic touch to prevent the Dallas Stars from staying undefeated.

Nabokov made 32 saves for his second shutout of the season and Milan Michalek and Mark Bell scored to lead the San Jose Sharks to their fifth win in six games, a 2-0 triumph over the Stars.

San Jose's victory denied Dallas a opportunity reach a pair of milestones. The Stars were trying to begin the campaign with a franchise record-tying six victories and also win their opening five road contests of a season for the first time.

"We've been on the road a while," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "It (has) been a hard trip and our players have played very hard. You have to give them a lot of credit, but we sure would like to get this one tonight."

Although teammate Vesa Toskala has a 10-game winning streak in regular-season action, Nabokov has both shutout victories for San Jose in 2005-06. He stopped 13 shots in the first period, 14 in the second and five in the third for the 29th shutout of his career.

"I thought (the Stars) were creating a lot of traffic," Nabokov said. "But again, (the) defense (was) on their toes and picking up the rebounds if they were in there."

Nabokov caught a break in the first period when Mike Modano's quick shot in front went off his left pad before hitting the left goalpost. He also stopped Matthew Barnaby on a second-period breakaway with a sliding pad save and turned aside Jeff Halpern's shot at an open net with 4:30 remaining in the game.

"The rebound went to the right spot," Halpern said. "I just had to reach back for it and I think it gave him enough time to slide over and he made a good save. I needed to get it up, but he played pretty well all night."

"You're trying to concentrate on every shift," Nabokov said. "You're trying to concentrate the whole game. You got to take whatever the game gives you. ... You got to give your best effort to make a save or not to make a save."

After leading the league with seven preseason goals, Michalek has continued his torrid pace in the regular season.

Michalek recorded his team-leading fifth tally with 6:53 left in the first period when defenseman Matt Carle's wrister from the left faceoff circle deflected off his stick, bounced up in the air and over goaltender Marty Turco before trickling into the net.

"You know it was going to be a goaltenders' match between Turco and Nabby with both of them playing so well at the beginning of the season," Carle said. "It was a fun game to be in and something you look forward to in the schedule."

After missing four games with a groin injury, Bell widened the margin by netting his second goal of the season with 3:40 left in the middle session.

Reigning Maurice Richard Trophy winner Jonathan Cheechoo faked a slap shot at the right circle before shoveling the puck to Bell, who redirected it from the slot.

"I was going to drive the far post and just try to cut back to the middle, get my stick available, put it right there, and can't miss those," Bell said.

Despite stopping 21 shots, Turco suffered his first defeat of the campaign to fall to 11-3-2 lifetime against the Sharks.

"It was just a hard-fought game either way," Turco said. "And the momentum wasn't really grabbed either way by not too much. It was some great saves out there by (Nabokov) and, at the end of the road trip, we were happy certainly with the effort, just not the outcome."

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