Evgeni Nabokov blanked the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center, and the San Jose Sharks started their second lengthy road trip of the month in the win column. Despite the win, however, the Sharks allowed themselves to get outworked and outplayed for much of the game - which is why having a Vezina-finalist netminder on your roster can boast great dividends.
The Sharks also welcomed back defenseman Brad Lukowich, who missed the last 18 games - his ice time was tempered at 13:38, but he was a plus-one for the evening.
[UPDATE] From Ross McKeon on Puck Daddy, followed by a piece from the AP recap =
Did you know?: The 25 goals by San Jose's Setoguchi are most by a second-year player in the league.
Stars C Toby Petersen left early in the second period with a lower-body injury and did not return. He’ll be evaluated on Tuesday. With Modano and Richards already out, the Stars were shorthanded at center, having to move wingers Sutherby and Joel Lundqvist into the middle. …
Ten points from the 1st period:
- Nabokov turns over the puck trying to get it to Jeremy Roenick, and then makes a big save to redeem himself.
- First Sharks power play (Joel Lundqvist, holding the stick) - Rob Blake gets both shots on goal, while Vlasic wins a foot race against Toby Petersen.
- First Stars power play (too many men, served by Devin Setoguchi) - the Sharks hold off the Stars from shooting, in a fairly strong penalty kill.
- Nabokov makes a huge save on Loui Eriksson at 13:16, as Dallas ties the Sharks in shots on goal...
- ...Followed by a flurry from Brian Sutherby, who single-handedly takes the Stars up in s.o.g. The Stars will not relinquish the lead in shots for the entire 46:18 afterward.
- The "Sunshine Boys" (Shelley-Roenick-Lemieux) lay on the big hits.
- Krys Barch gets off a good shot from behind the blue line at 15:50.
- San Jose's second power play (Marty Turco tripped The Gooch) - no shots.
- Stars close the period in our end, with tons of pressure, before Trevor Daley gets off a shot at the buzzer.
- Shots are 5-11, Dallas.
Ten points from the 2nd period:
- Stars power play (Milan Michalek high-sticking, 0:40) - at first the Stars can't keep the puck in the Sharks' zone...
- ...But then Steve Ott, Stephane Robidas and Jere Lehtinen combine for FOUR SHOTS IN FIVE SECONDS.
- Still in the power play, Fabian Brunnstrom finds his shot saved by Nabby, who does a cartwheel of defiance, at 1:58.
- Up by 11 shots, the Stars send in James Neal, who is very strong in the Sharks' end.
- Sharks power play (Mark Fistric called for high-sticking, 5:36) - Blake gets off one shot, not a very impressive SJ showing.
- Stars power play (Tomas Plihal called for goaltender interference, 8:00) - Douglas Murray destroys one of the Stars behind Nabby's net, and Mike Grier gets off a shorthanded shot (the only one during the 5-on-4) to close off a good penalty kill under sustained pressure.
- Nabby gets some love from his goalpost - no word if he speaks to them in Russian, a la Patrick Roy.
- Mike Grier reaches up to grab an errant puck, and brings the puck into the Stars end for some resulting pressure.
- Devin Setoguchi lays an open ice hit on Ray Sawada.
- Shots 13-19, Dallas, at the end of two periods of play - and after 2 periods, Ryane Clowe has 7 hits. Awesome.
Ten points from the 3rd period:
- After 2 more shots by Dallas, San Jose responds with 3 straight.
- Nabby snuffs out Brian Sutherby's goal attempt by pinching his skate against the post like there's no tomorrow.
- Joe Thornton is caught on a line with Tomas Plihal and Claude Lemieux.
- Marc-Edouard Vlasic breaks up a 2-on-1 by Dallas, around the 7:45 mark.
- GOAL!!!! - Devin Setoguchi beats Marty Turco on his stick side after fighting his way to the right circle at 7:55. The Gooch now has 25 goals for the year, and San Jose leads 1-0 despite being outshot 19-23. Ryane Clowe and Christian Ehrhoff earn the assists, while Joe Thornton and Brad Lukowich are also plus-ones. Minus ones = James Neal, Mark Parrish, Mike Ribeiro, Matt Niskanen, and Darryl Sydor.
- Stars power play (Brad Lukowich - former Star - called for interference at 8:16) - Stephane Robidas hits the post, and the Stars get off 2 s.o.g. before the Sharks kill another penalty.
- Milan Michalek sets up Joe Pavelski, whose shot is saved by Turco at 10:27.
- Christian Ehrhoff masterfully blocks Fabian Brunnstrom's shot at 12:14.
- James Neal and Devin Setoguchi tumble sometime after 16 minutes.
- At the buzzer, Rob Blake makes an enormous save to preserve Evgeni Nabokov's 45th career shutout, and 5th this season. Nabby made 29 saves, while his counterpart made 23.
Sharks win 1-0, their second 1-0 victory this season. The other, on October 12, was also on the road, and also against a divisional rival (L.A.), though Brian Boucher was in net.
The Sharks won 24 of the faceoffs, while Dallas won 19. Brian Sutherby led all players with 6 shots on goal, while Rob Blake, Milan Michalek, and Joel Lundqvist each had 4. Stephane Robidas led all players in TOI with 26:12, while Marc-Edouard Vlasic led all Sharks with 23:46.
The Sharks are now 4-0-0 against Dallas this season. The win means they are the first team to have over 90 points (91 points in 58 games) - it also means they took advantage of upset losses by both the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings to secure a point lead with games in hand.
The Sharks (and Claude Lemieux) head to the Joe Louis Arena this Wednesday for the first of back-to-back games. The Sharks then play their final two interconference games in Ottawa on Thursday, and in Montreal on Saturday.