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Pavelski helps Sharks stymie Penguins

By Michael Duca

PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SAN JOSE, California (Ticker) -- Joe Pavelski's shorthanded goal

and Mike Grier's first of the season proved enough for the San

Jose Sharks to hold off the Pittsburgh Penguins, 2-1, on


The victory gives the Sharks, who are off to a franchise-best

8-2-0 start, the most points in the Western Conference.

With veteran defenseman Rob Blake in the penalty box for

tripping, San Jose scored first when the Penguins' power play


Rookie defenseman Alex Goligoski turned over the puck at his own

blue line to Milan Michalek, who skated in on goaltender Dany

Sabourin. The goaltender made the save, but Pavelski flipped

home Michalek's rebound over a prone Sabourin midway through the

first period. It was San Jose's fifth shorthanded goal of the

season, and the second Pittsburgh has allowed.

"Milan hunted the puck down from one side to the other,"

Pavelski said. "I was just backing him up a little. I got a

jump, Milan was able to pick it up, and it shows his great speed

breaking away from the blue line. He made a good move, his shot

almost went in, but it stuck around and I had the easy job on

that one."

Grier scored a 4-on-4 goal at 12:52 of the third, giving the

Sharks a two-goal lead. Defenseman Dan Boyle picked off a pass

at the blue line and sent it across the ice to fellow blue-liner

Christian Ehrhoff, who fed the puck to Grier sliding across the

slot. Grier beat Sabourin with a backhander.

"Patty (Patrick Marleau) made a good play," Grier said. "He

carried it with a lot of speed. ... He got it back to Boyle, and

Christian made a good play -- he kind of "no-looked" everyone

off, they thought he was shooting it, and I was able to find a

little space and get it into the net."

Less than two minutes later, on their second shot of the period,

the Penguins halved the deficit and broke a 136:13 shutout

streak by the Sharks. Evgeni Malkin made a long pass out of his

own end to captain Sidney Crosby, who skated into the offensive

zone and left the puck for Ruslan Fedotenko, who beat Nabokov at


"Anytime you are playing a talented team, they are going to keep

you on your toes," said Nabokov, the Vezina Trophy runner-up

last season. "I thought the second and third period, we had

control of the game. But, when the score is 1-0, there's always

a threat there."

The Penguins' Matt Cooke took a high sticking penalty with 1:49

left in the game. With the Sharks on the power play, the

Penguins were unable to pull the goaltender until the final

minute. Neither team was able to record a shot during that


Nabokov upped his career mark to 7-1-0 against Pittsburgh by

making 10 saves. The 11 shots allowed by San Jose were a

franchise-record low; they also tied a franchise low for shots

taken by the Penguins.

"They worked together and obviously have a great defense,"

Crosby said. "They worked together as a unit out there and

that's always tough as a defense to play against when its five

guys as a whole. If you allow odd-man rushes there's only so

much a defenseman can do, so they did a good job backchecking

and being responsible back there."

The Sharks' homestand continues Thursday when the Red Wings make

their first visit of the season. It is the first time in Sharks

history that they have faced the prior season's Stanley Cup

finalists back-to-back.

"It's two top-end teams," Joe Thornton said. "We played well

tonight and grabbed some confidence. Detroit is real hot right

now. It's going to be a bigger test and a great game."


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