UNIONDALE, N.Y. – San Jose Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov left Monday’s game midway through the second period after a shot broke the cage on his mask and bloodied his face.
He received stitches to close a cut on the bridge of his nose and returned for the start of the third period. Nabokov has started all but one of San Jose’s 59 games this season.
Islanders defenceman Radek Martinek fired a slapshot that struck Nabokov in the mask and trickled wide of the left post. Play continued as Nabokov hunched over in front of the crease, and New York’s Richard Park caught the post with a shot as other Sharks players defended the goal.
The bar of the mask bent into his nose, and Nabokov was assisted as he skated off the ice with a towel pressed to his face.
Nabokov entered the game tied for the NHL lead with 31 wins this season, and is tops in the league in minutes. He was replaced for the final 9 1/2 minutes of the period by Thomas Greiss, who was recalled by the Sharks from Worcester (AHL) Monday.
Greiss made his NHL debut on Jan. 13 when he stopped 29 shots in San Jose’s overtime loss at Anaheim. That was the only game Nabokov sat out this season.
To make roster room for the 21-year-old Greiss, San Jose assigned goalie Dimitri Patzold to Worcester. Patzold made four relief appearances for the Sharks this season and hadn’t played since Dec. 8.
Also Monday, the Sharks placed captain Patrick Marleau on the injured list because of a groin injury that has already forced him to miss four games. That moved enabled San Jose to recall centre Mike Iggulden from Worcester.
Iggulden, Worcester’s team leader with 18 goals, 25 assists and 43 points, was in the lineup against the Islanders.