SAN JOSE, Calif. – Evgeni Nabokov returned to San Jose’s lineup and immediately made an impact, stopping 23 shots in regulation and overtime and six of seven shootout attempts.
No big deal for the all-star goalie.
“The guys really made it easier for me,” Nabokov said after the Sharks’ 2-1 victory over Los Angeles on Saturday night. “I didn’t have to face a lot of shots. I felt good right off the bat.”
Jonathan Cheechoo scored in the seventh round, and Nabokov stopped Teddy Purcell on the final attempt to give the Sharks the victory.
Nabokov missed the previous seven games because of an upper-body injury. The Sharks were 2-5 while Nabokov was sidelined.
“He was zeroed in,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. “When he was tested he was very sharp.”
Milan Michalek scored in regulation, and Joe Pavelski added a shootout goal to help the Sharks snap a two-game home losing streak.
Wayne Simmonds scored for Los Angeles, and Jack Johnson had a shootout goal.
“He played great,” Sharks defender Dan Boyle said about Nabokov. “He came through in the shootout and he’s the reason we won the two points.”
The Sharks opened the scoring when Michalek redirected a pass from Pavelski from the top of the crease at 5:28 of the first period. Simmonds tied it 41 seconds into the second, slipping the puck past Nabokov off a rebound.
Erik Ersberg made 38 saves for Los Angeles. The Kings dropped their sixth straight on the road and fifth in a row to the Sharks.
“We played very well,” Kings coach Terry Murray said. “Coming into San Jose at 3 in the morning from Vancouver and coming out with that kind of performance, it was as good as they can play.”
Ersberg stopped two point-blank shots in the final 12 seconds of regulation. Patrick Marleau came from behind the net to try and sneak the puck in, and Rob Blake tried to lift the puck over Ersberg’s glove.
“We hung in there,” Ersberg said. “It was anybody’s game. If we play like this over the last 14, we can make things interesting.”
The Sharks opened the overtime with 1:43 left on a power play. Ersberg stopped Blake’s slap shot 1:07 into the extra period.
Notes: The Kings last beat the Sharks on April 3, 2008, in Los Angeles. … Kings D Sean O’Donnell played in his 1,000th career game, his 449th for Los Angeles. … Blake returned to the lineup after missing two games because of a left foot injury. … Sharks D Christian Ehrhoff missed the game because of a lower-body injury. … Kings RW Raitis Ivanans played a handful of shifts in his second game back from an upper-body injury. … The Sharks were 0-for-8 on power plays.