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Sharks hold off Rangers to avoid third straight loss

By Michael Duca

PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SAN JOSE, California (Ticker) -- Defenseman Dan Boyle and Ryane

Clowe scored power-play goals 25 seconds apart in the first

period and the San Jose Sharks held on for a 3-2 victory over

the New York Rangers on Saturday.

Evgeni Nabokov made 32 saves and captain Patrick Marleau netted

the game-winner for the Sharks, who avoided their first

three-game losing streak of the season.

"We got the win," San Jose coach Todd McLellan said. "The

special teams were really good, and when we ran out of gas at

the end. 'Nabby' hung in there well. We were a determined

team, including the last 18 minutes when we had nothing left.

We found a way."

Joe Thornton had two assists for San Jose, which has not lost a

regular season game in regulation at home since February 14.

The Sharks are 17-0-2 at the HP Pavilion this campaign.

Nikolai Zherdev had a shorthanded goal and Ryan Callahan also

scored and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 27 shots for the Rangers,

who had their three-game winning streak snapped.

New York entered the contest with the NHL's best penalty-killing

unit, but blue-liner Paul Mara and Blair Betts were whistled for

infractions early in the first period that put the Rangers in an

early hole.

Boyle capitalized on the 5-on-3 advantage just five seconds

before New York's first penalty would end. He fired one-timer

from the right point past Lundqvist at 4:27 of the first period.

"Our power play got two quick goals," Boyle said. "It was a big

reason for the win. Those were two important goals to get off

to a good start. We haven't had that many opportunities

lately."

The Sharks' power play struck again moments later after Joe

Pavelski's jam was blocked by Lundqvist. But Jonathan Cheechoo

then backhanded a pass through the crease to Clowe, who had an

empty net at the left doorstep.

Zherdev halved the deficit with 9:26 remaining with an

unassisted shorthanded goal, capitalizing on Clowe's turnover

and firing a shot between Nabokov's pads from above the right

circle.

"We were out there for the 4-on-4," Clowe said. "I was covering

for Boyle and I pinched when he came back with the puck. I

shouldn't have and they got a 2-on-1. Zherdev was in front of

me, and just tipped it by me and he was gone."

San Jose regained a two-goal edge at 6:20 of the second when

Marleau wristed a shot past Lundqvist after a scramble behind

the net left both New York blue-liners, Dan Girardi and Wade

Redden, behind the net.

The Rangers cut into the deficit again at 9:56 when Brandon

Dubinsky's slap shot rebounded off Nabokov's chest and Callahan

backhanded it top shelf while falling down into the crease.

"We did what we could to get ourselves a win here," Rangers

coach Tom Renney said. "Certainly in the third period, we

displayed a little better effort. I thought the other team was

a little bit tired.

"San Jose showed they've been on the road for a little while,

playing three games in four nights and we were able to take

advantage of that but we were not able to solve Nabokov."

New York controlled the play in the final session but failed to

get another one past Nabokov, who turned aside 17 shots in the

period.

"Nabby played great tonight," Thornton said. "That's the reason

we won. He needs to steal some games and he stole this game

tonight for us."

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