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Nabokov perfect as Sharks even series

Apr 11, 2008 - 7:31 AM
SAN JOSE, California (Ticker) -- With the San Jose Sharks in danger of falling into a deep hole, Evgeni Nabokov knew he had to be at the top of his game. The All-Star could not have been any better against the Calgary Flames.

Nabokov made 21 saves en route to his sixth career postseason shutout as the second-seeded Sharks evened their best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinal series with the seventh-seeded Flames at one game apiece with a 2-0 triumph on Thursday.

Joe Pavelski and rookie Torrey Mitchell scored second-period goals for San Jose, which outshot Calgary, 27-3, in the middle session.

"I still thought we should have shot more, to be honest with you," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "Our arms were weary there for a bit."

Miikka Kiprusoff made 41 saves for the Flames, who host Game Three on Sunday.

"You've got to take the positives out of it," Calgary's Kristian Huselius said. "You can't sit here and say, 'Oh, why didn't we win two?' You got the split, going back home for two."

Just one day after Calgary escaped with a 3-2 victory in the opener, San Jose could not afford to fall into a two-games-to-none hole with the series heading back to the Pengrowth Saddledome. Nabokov made sure it did not happen, turning aside 10 shots in the first period, three in the second and eight in the third en route to the blanking.

"We needed a win," Nabokov said. "It didn't matter - shutout, 2-1, 3-2, we needed a win. That's the bottom line."

"I don't know if that's a statement game," Wilson said. "We know how good Nabby is. I think he's deserving of the Vezina Trophy. He's been the best goalie this year. I think a night like tonight shows why we think so highly of him."

Nabokov made his best save of the night late in the third, diving across the crease to his left to snag former Sharks captain Owen Nolan's shot with his glove with 4:51 remaining.

"I was kind of lucky," Nabokov admitted. "I just tried to put my glove somewhere and hoped he would hit it. It was sort of lucky."

"He's so tough mentally," Pavelski said. "He kept us in the game a few times and he kept the lead for us. It's a different game when you make a big save like that. It takes the wind out of them. It's just like scoring a goal."

After a scoreless first period, Pavelski gave Nabokov all the offensive support he needed at 4:56 of the second.

Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic's slap shot from the blue line went wide of the net on the right side. But the puck caromed off the end boards to Pavelski, who gained control in the bottom of the left faceoff circle, spun around and fired it past Kiprusoff for his second career playoff goal.

"Kipper doesn't know where the puck is, coming off the end boards," Pavelski said. "He's trying to find it, locate it. I thought, I have it and my back is to him.

"I had so many great chances with him 1-on-1 tonight, and it's the one I can't even see. Maybe I should start closing my eyes. That's the way it goes sometimes."

Mitchell doubled the lead during a power play with 1:51 remaining in the second. During a scramble at the right side of the crease, the puck squirted to the 23-year-old, who buried it from alone on the left side for his first postseason tally and a 2-0 advantage.

"It was a lot of fun," Mitchell said. "All the guys on the team are playing with a lot of emotion, and certainly, I'm out there that way, too. It was very nice to get that first goal."

San Jose went 1-for-10 overall on the power play, receiving six opportunities in the second period alone.

"Obviously, you don't go into a period and plan for that many power plays," Wilson said. "You've got to be careful that you don't tire out your power-play people because they are logging a lot of 5-on-5 minutes, too. Eventually, we scored and took control of the game."

"It was pretty tough," Kiprusoff said of the middle session. "There was a lot of penalties there. I think our penalty-killers did a pretty good job there."

Needless to say, Calgary coach Mike Keenan was not pleased with the officiating.

"I'll share my thoughts with the league and with the supervisor of officials," he said. "I can't comment any further. ... Coming on the road, it doesn't make it very palatable in terms of what happened tonight. I'm biting my tongue here."

"I've never seen that in a playoff game," Flames captain Jarome Iginla added. "It wasn't even a vicious game. It's a tough one to take."

Kiprusoff prevented the lead from growing in the third, denying Pavelski and captain Patrick Marleau on breakaway attempts and preventing Mike Grier from having another solo chance by sliding out to the top of the slot to knock away the puck.

"I'm not the fastest guy out there, but I felt I had enough time to make it," Kiprusoff said. "It was a pretty close call. He was able to put his stick there, but I got the puck."








  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CALGARY 0 0 0 0
    SAN JOSE 0 2 0 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: SAN - JOE PAVELSKI 1 (MARC-EDOUARD VLASIC, PATRICK MARLEAU)
    4:56
    SAN - (PP) TORREY MITCHELL 1 (MILAN MICHALEK, CRAIG RIVET)
    18:09
    3RD PRD: NONE
    POWER-PLAY CONVERSIONS: CGY - 0 OF 4, SAN - 1

    Apr 11 12:36 AM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CALGARY 0 0 0
    SAN JOSE 0 2 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: SAN - JOE PAVELSKI 1 (MARC-EDOUARD VLASIC, PATRICK MARLEAU)
    4:56
    SAN - (PP) TORREY MITCHELL 1 (MILAN MICHALEK, CRAIG RIVET)
    18:09
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    ---

    Apr 10 11:45 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL CALGARY 0
    SAN JOSE 2
    2ND PRD: SAN - (PP) TORREY MITCHELL 1 (MILAN MICHALEK, CRAIG RIVET)
    18:09

    Flames 0, Sharks 2  2nd - 1:51Apr 10 11:42 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL CALGARY 0
    SAN JOSE 1
    2ND PRD: SAN - JOE PAVELSKI 1 (MARC-EDOUARD VLASIC, PATRICK MARLEAU)
    4:56

    Flames 0, Sharks 1  2nd - 15:04Apr 10 11:12 PM
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    Flames 0, Sharks 0  End of 1stApr 10 10:54 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CALGARY 0 0
    SAN JOSE 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CGY 10 10
    SAN 8 8
    GOALIES: CGY - MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF
    SAN - EVGENI NABOKOV

    Apr 10 10:47 PM
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