Sharks-Ducks: Evgeni Nabokov Shuts Out Anaheim

Andy BenschSenior Writer IMarch 15, 2009

Sharks newly-acquired winger Travis Moen scored the only goal of the game against his former team on Sunday, and Evgeni Nabokov made it hold up. In just his second game back from injury, the Sharks' net-minder shut-out the Anaheim Ducks by a final of 1-0.

Nabokov turned away all 34 shots that Anaheim threw his way, including 12 in the final period. Nabokov also fended off 12 shots in the opening period as the Ducks out-shot the Sharks 12-7 in the first period.

San Jose was clearly spending more time in their own zone trying to defend the fresh legs of Anaheim who hadn't played since Wednesday. However Nabokov and the Sharks were up to the task in the first few minutes.

At the 9:10 mark of the opening period, the enforcers went to work as Jody Shelley and George Parros dropped the gloves. After circling around each other for a few moments, Shelley grabbed hold of Parros and the pair exchanged a few average punches before Parros got the most of Shelley with a right-hand and than landed on top of the Sharks winger as they wrestled to the ground.

That would be pretty much all the action in the first period as both Jonas Hiller and Nabokov turned away all the shots on goal in the first period as the teams headed to their respective locker rooms tied at zero going into the second.

In the middle period play was pretty consistent back and forth between the two teams. Both finished with 10 shots on goal for the middle frame and each had one power-play opportunity. The game looked to go into the third scoreless up until Travis Moen had a little something to say to his former team.

With just over a minute left in the period, Moen scored his second goal as a Shark, giving his new team a 1-0 advantage. After the face-off brought the puck behind the Anaheim net, Sharks' rookie Jamie McGinn worked to steal the puck and back-handed a shot from the boards toward the net, where Moen got his stick on the puck and re-directed it past Hiller for the first lead of the game.

That was the only score of the game, as San Jose held off the Ducks attack in the third period. The Sharks successfully fended off two Anaheim power-plays, one of which came late in the period at the 16:09 mark when Sharks defenseman Alexei Semenov was called for interference.

On the ensuing power-play and then final minutes of the period, the Ducks had a multitude of chances, including a nice power move to the net by Correy Perry from down low that Nabokov was able to stop. Corey Perry cross-checked Nabokov in the back of the leg on the play, as both players were down in the crease. Perry was pummeled by multiple Sharks for taking a cheap shot at their goal-tender.

If Chris Pronger is the No. 1 hated Duck by Sharks fans, Correy Perry may have just earned the second spot with that cheap-shot.

Nabokov would be able to stay in the game and continued to reject everything that came his way, but got a little help from his buddies behind him: On one of the Ducks power plays, former Shark Teemu Selanne rang a hard wrist shot off the post behind Nabokov.

However, Nabokov did make quite a few saves himself off of Selanne, who registered five shots on goal for the game. In the final moments, Ducks rookie Bobby Ryan nearly poked home a shot that had caromed off the boards behind Nabokov, but once again the Sharks net-minder was able to keep the puck from going past him.

In those last moments when the Ducks pulled their goaltender for an extra attacker, the Sharks did a great job of clearing the puck out of their zone and forcing Anaheim to regroup.

Major credit for the win also goes to Sharks defenseman Rob Blake, who made a great play with his stick on the penalty kill, deflecting away a pass intended for Ryan Getzlaf. Had it gone through, that would have been a dynamite opportunity for the Ducks to tie the score.

The Sharks power play did extend its drought to 0-16 with a 0-4 performance against a sub-par Anaheim penalty kill, but it didn't matter as the Sharks were able to come away with the win without notching a power-play tally.

Moen's game-winning goal and Nabokov's stellar performance in net were the difference as the Sharks kept pace with the Red Wings, staying one point behind the NHL leaders.

The Sharks take on the Phoenix Coyotes in Glendale, Arizona on Tuesday.