By Michael Duca
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
SAN JOSE, California (Ticker) -- Joe Pavelski's shorthanded goal
and Mike Grier's first of the season proved enough for the San
Jose Sharks to hold off the Pittsburgh Penguins, 2-1, on
The victory gives the Sharks, who are off to a franchise-best
8-2-0 start, the most points in the Western Conference.
With veteran defenseman Rob Blake in the penalty box for
tripping, San Jose scored first when the Penguins' power play
Rookie defenseman Alex Goligoski turned over the puck at his own
blue line to Milan Michalek, who skated in on goaltender Dany
Sabourin. The goaltender made the save, but Pavelski flipped
home Michalek's rebound over a prone Sabourin midway through the
first period. It was San Jose's fifth shorthanded goal of the
season, and the second Pittsburgh has allowed.
"Milan hunted the puck down from one side to the other,"
Pavelski said. "I was just backing him up a little. I got a
jump, Milan was able to pick it up, and it shows his great speed
breaking away from the blue line. He made a good move, his shot
almost went in, but it stuck around and I had the easy job on
Grier scored a 4-on-4 goal at 12:52 of the third, giving the
Sharks a two-goal lead. Defenseman Dan Boyle picked off a pass
at the blue line and sent it across the ice to fellow blue-liner
Christian Ehrhoff, who fed the puck to Grier sliding across the
slot. Grier beat Sabourin with a backhander.
"Patty (Patrick Marleau) made a good play," Grier said. "He
carried it with a lot of speed. ... He got it back to Boyle, and
Christian made a good play -- he kind of "no-looked" everyone
off, they thought he was shooting it, and I was able to find a
little space and get it into the net."
Less than two minutes later, on their second shot of the period,
the Penguins halved the deficit and broke a 136:13 shutout
streak by the Sharks. Evgeni Malkin made a long pass out of his
own end to captain Sidney Crosby, who skated into the offensive
zone and left the puck for Ruslan Fedotenko, who beat Nabokov at
"Anytime you are playing a talented team, they are going to keep
you on your toes," said Nabokov, the Vezina Trophy runner-up
last season. "I thought the second and third period, we had
control of the game. But, when the score is 1-0, there's always
a threat there."
The Penguins' Matt Cooke took a high sticking penalty with 1:49
left in the game. With the Sharks on the power play, the
Penguins were unable to pull the goaltender until the final
minute. Neither team was able to record a shot during that
Nabokov upped his career mark to 7-1-0 against Pittsburgh by
making 10 saves. The 11 shots allowed by San Jose were a
franchise-record low; they also tied a franchise low for shots
taken by the Penguins.
"They worked together and obviously have a great defense,"
Crosby said. "They worked together as a unit out there and
that's always tough as a defense to play against when its five
guys as a whole. If you allow odd-man rushes there's only so
much a defenseman can do, so they did a good job backchecking
and being responsible back there."
The Sharks' homestand continues Thursday when the Red Wings make
their first visit of the season. It is the first time in Sharks
history that they have faced the prior season's Stanley Cup
"It's two top-end teams," Joe Thornton said. "We played well
tonight and grabbed some confidence. Detroit is real hot right
now. It's going to be a bigger test and a great game."