Sharks 4, Wild 3, SO
Sharks Win Thriller Over Wild, 4-3 (SO)
SAN JOSE, Calif. --
Jeremy Roenick netted the game-winning goal in the third round of shootouts while Evgeni Nabokov blocked Minnesota's final shooter to secure San Jose's 4-3 (SO) victory and sweep the season series over the Wild.
The Sharks clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the win and they remain in second place in the Western Conference with 97 points.
Curtis Brown returned to the Sharks lineup after missing the past 26 games on the Injured Reserve and pocketed a goal and an assist, while Nabokov made 23 saves in his 70th start of the season.
Ron Wilson made the executive decision to rest Kyle McLaren, Marcel Goc and Tomas Plihal from Tuesday’s winning group and inserted Matt Carle, Roenick and Brown onto his lineup card. The decision paid off.
The first big-time scoring chance of the game came when Minnesota’s Marian Gaborik stripped a Sharks defender at center ice and skated in on a breakaway. The speedy winger looked for the far post, but Nabokov had it covered and play went the other way.
Of f the ensuing faceoff, a fight broke out between heavyweights Jody Shelley and Derek Boogaard. The two grapplers each landed a few punches each before being sent to their respective penalty boxes.
San Jose earned the night’s first power play, but could not find the opening goal midway through the first.
With two to go in the opening stanza, San Jose finally cracked the scoreboard.
Brown led a three-on-one rush with Patrick Marleau
and Jeremy Roenick and they created a picture-perfect tic-tac-toe play for the lead. Brown fed it up ice to Marleau, who dropped it back to Brown when he crossed the blue line. Then the puck moved back over to Marleau on the left and across to Roenick on the right side and he tapped it in.
The shots were even at seven after 20 minutes, but San Jose led 1-0.
Strong forechecking by Minnesota resulted in the tying tally less than a minute into the first period. As Nabokov moved to play the puck, the clearing attempt was touched by the Wild. The puck squired out to Kurtis Foster who fired to the slot. Stephane Veilleau was there for the redirect and the puck beat Nabokov to the far side.
3:38 into the period, the Sharks had regained the lead. This time Roenick was the primary assist man as he cross the blueline and found Brown in the high slot. Brown gain control and pushed a backhander to the upper left corner of Backstrom.
A scary moment happened at the 5:18 mark of the second when Torrey Mitchell
and Foster went into the boards chasing the puck. Mitchell was given two minutes for tripping, but Foster was left sprawled on the ice and had to be taken off on a stretcher grimacing in pain. The Sharks did kill off the minor penalty.
After the game, it was announced that Foster had suffered a displaced fracture of the left femur and he would undergo surgery Wednesday night.
Team Teal was peppering Backstrom with pucks in the latter portions of the period, but could not increase the lead.
|San Jose Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov, of Kazakhstan, left, stops a shot attempt by Minnesota Wild right wing Marian Gaborik during a shootout in an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Wednesday, March 19, 2008. San Jose won 4-3, in a shootout. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
San Jose controlled the shot clock by a 16-7 mark in the second and would take their 1-0 lead to the lockerroom.
With Joe Thornton
in the penalty box, the Wild found the tying tally at the 14:11 mark of the third. On the advantage, they worked the puck to Gaborik above the faceoff circle and he lasered a shot to the top shelf, tying the game at two.
San Jose had their own scary injury moment when rookie winger Devin Setoguchi
was tripped up and went sailing into the boards. He was on the ice for a few minutes, but he was able to return to the bench.
With 2:02 left in regulation, the Sharks regained the lead. Milan Michalek forced a turnover on the forecheck behind the net. He quickly fed Joe Pavelski
at the side of the net and he forced his shot across the line.
With 1:06 to go, Minnesota pulled Backstrom and their risk would pay off. After Christian Ehrhoff was called for hooking with at 19:20, Gaborik converted on a shot from the point for his second power-play goal of the game.
The Sharks and Wild were tied at three and as the final seconds of the game ticked away, the teams were headed to overtime.
At 1:52 of overtime, the Sharks and Wild received dualing penalties when Brown was called for slashing and Brent Burns was called for cross-checking. Neither team could generate much offense with the 3-on-3 opportunity, but Marleau had the Sharks best scoring opportunity in the final minute of overtime when his fore-check resulted in a Wild turnover and the Sharks captain ripped a shot just wide of the goal.
As they had done just ten days earlier, the Sharks and Wild were headed to shootouts. Back on March 9, Marleau won the game for San Jose on the final shot of the night. This time, Roenick would be the hero in a very similar situation.
After Pavelski and Burns scored on the first round of shots and Marleau and Gaborik were turned aside on their attempts, Roenick netted his shot through the glove side of Backstrom. Mikko Koivu took the final shot for Minnesota and Nabokov snatched the shot with his glove. After making the save, the winning goaltender threw the puck in the air and drop-kicked it in celebration.
The Sharks will host Anaheim on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in a game that will be carried on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com. Limited tickets are still available at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.Ticketmaster.com.
From the AP Wire
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Although Jeremy Roenick and Curtis Brown have been quite happy to take supporting roles for the Sharks this season, the two veteran forwards still can provide an occasional scoring kick to keep San Jose on its blistering pace.
Roenick scored his 507th career goal and added the decisive shootout score as the Sharks clinched a playoff berth with their 13th victory in 14 games, 4-3 over the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night.
Roenick and Brown each had a goal and an assist, and Evgeni Nabokov made 21 saves in his NHL-leading 42nd victory for San Jose, which has 27 points in its 14 games since Feb. 21 after beating Minnesota for the seventh straight time.
While Roenick tied Jean Beliveau's career goals total with the latest score in his revitalized season, Brown simply was grateful to be back on the ice after missing 25 games with a hand injury.
"It doesn't matter who gets the credit, but the points are huge," said Brown, who hadn't played since Jan. 19. "You don't ever want to give up the lead late like we did, but when you do, the next-best thing is to come out and get that extra point."
The Sharks have the NHL's second-best record with 97 points, but their latest win had a somber tone after Minnesota defenseman Kurtis Foster broke his left leg in the second period. Foster, a third-year pro, hit the boards violently after a collision with San Jose rookie Torrey Mitchell.
"I feel real bad for the kid," said Roenick, who shook Foster's hand as he left the ice on a stretcher. "It takes a lot of guts going in there with speed. Going in there that fast, there's going to be some bad things happen."
Joe Pavelski put the Sharks ahead with 2:02 left in regulation on an awkwardly angled shot set up by Milan Michalek, who stole a puck behind the Minnesota goal and fed Pavelski for the go-ahead score. But after a penalty and an empty net gave the Wild a 6-on-4 power play, Marian Gaborik slammed home his second man-advantage goal of the night with 28 seconds to play.
Roenick scored the decisive shootout goal in the third round when Niklas Backstrom couldn't hold on to his hard shot. Nabokov stopped Mikko Koivu to end the meeting of division leaders, gleefully kicking the puck after dropping it out of his glove.
"Our team gave an unbelievable effort considering it was our third game in four nights," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "We're just focusing on winning our division and finishing ahead of any team in the East."
Gaborik scored a quick power-play goal early in the third period of the Wild's first stop on a four-game road trip that carries serious playoff implications. Stephane Veilleux also scored for Minnesota, and Backstrom stopped 29 shots in the Wild's sixth loss in eight games, though they still lead three pursuers in the Northwest Division by two points.
The Wild were more worried about Foster, who went hard into the boards when Mitchell touched him from behind as their skates got tangled while chasing a puck for icing.
The Minnesota defenseman left the ice on a backboard and a stretcher with a splint around his left leg. He was expected to have surgery Wednesday night at O'Connor Hospital to insert a stabilizing rod into his leg, the club said.
"When a guy goes down, you have to battle through it," defenseman Kim Johnsson said. "You have to keep winning games. Seeing Foster like that, you don't want to see anyone get hurt like that."
Foster remained on the ice for 12 minutes, but was moving his head and talking to paramedics when they lifted him off the ice. Mitchell got only a two-minute penalty for tripping, prompting anger from Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire.
"I thought he was playing great," Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said. "He was playing his best hockey. It's a big loss."
Notes: Sharks D Kyle McLaren got the night off to rest his surgically repaired left knee, and C Marcel Goc was a healthy scratch with Brown in the lineup. ... Gaborik had just one goal in his previous 10 games against San Jose. ... Nabokov got just his third night off this season on Tuesday when Brian Boucher backstopped the Sharks' 2-1 win at Los Angeles, but returned to make his 70th start.
|Three star selections