Sharks hold off Rangers to avoid third straight loss

PA Stats Inc
By: PA Stats Inc
Dec 21, 2008
The Hockey News

Sharks hold off Rangers to avoid third straight loss

PA Stats Inc
By: PA Stats Inc
Dec 21, 2008

By Michael Duca
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SAN JOSE, California (Ticker) -- Defenseman Dan Boyle and Ryane
Clowe scored power-play goals 25 seconds apart in the first
period and the San Jose Sharks held on for a 3-2 victory over
the New York Rangers on Saturday.

Evgeni Nabokov made 32 saves and captain Patrick Marleau netted
the game-winner for the Sharks, who avoided their first
three-game losing streak of the season.

"We got the win," San Jose coach Todd McLellan said. "The
special teams were really good, and when we ran out of gas at
the end. 'Nabby' hung in there well. We were a determined
team, including the last 18 minutes when we had nothing left.
We found a way."

Joe Thornton had two assists for San Jose, which has not lost a
regular season game in regulation at home since February 14.
The Sharks are 17-0-2 at the HP Pavilion this campaign.

Nikolai Zherdev had a shorthanded goal and Ryan Callahan also
scored and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 27 shots for the Rangers,
who had their three-game winning streak snapped.

New York entered the contest with the NHL's best penalty-killing
unit, but blue-liner Paul Mara and Blair Betts were whistled for
infractions early in the first period that put the Rangers in an
early hole.

Boyle capitalized on the 5-on-3 advantage just five seconds
before New York's first penalty would end. He fired one-timer
from the right point past Lundqvist at 4:27 of the first period.

"Our power play got two quick goals," Boyle said. "It was a big
reason for the win. Those were two important goals to get off
to a good start. We haven't had that many opportunities

The Sharks' power play struck again moments later after Joe
Pavelski's jam was blocked by Lundqvist. But Jonathan Cheechoo
then backhanded a pass through the crease to Clowe, who had an
empty net at the left doorstep.

Zherdev halved the deficit with 9:26 remaining with an
unassisted shorthanded goal, capitalizing on Clowe's turnover
and firing a shot between Nabokov's pads from above the right

"We were out there for the 4-on-4," Clowe said. "I was covering
for Boyle and I pinched when he came back with the puck. I
shouldn't have and they got a 2-on-1. Zherdev was in front of
me, and just tipped it by me and he was gone."

San Jose regained a two-goal edge at 6:20 of the second when
Marleau wristed a shot past Lundqvist after a scramble behind
the net left both New York blue-liners, Dan Girardi and Wade
Redden, behind the net.

The Rangers cut into the deficit again at 9:56 when Brandon
Dubinsky's slap shot rebounded off Nabokov's chest and Callahan
backhanded it top shelf while falling down into the crease.

"We did what we could to get ourselves a win here," Rangers
coach Tom Renney said. "Certainly in the third period, we
displayed a little better effort. I thought the other team was
a little bit tired.

"San Jose showed they've been on the road for a little while,
playing three games in four nights and we were able to take
advantage of that but we were not able to solve Nabokov."

New York controlled the play in the final session but failed to
get another one past Nabokov, who turned aside 17 shots in the

"Nabby played great tonight," Thornton said. "That's the reason
we won. He needs to steal some games and he stole this game
tonight for us."

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Sharks hold off Rangers to avoid third straight loss