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Nabokov nets club-best 11th shutout

12/15/2001

DENVER (AP) -- Evgeni Nabokov set a franchise record for career
shutouts. Beating the Colorado Avalanche, however, was a bigger
thrill.

Nabokov, in only his second full NHL season, posted his 11th
shutout to break the San Jose record he had shared with Steve
Shields as the Sharks beat Colorado 3-0 on Friday night.

Nabokov, last season's Calder Trophy winner, had 38 saves for
his fourth shutout of the season and his first career victory over
Colorado after going 0-4-1.

Colorado's Patrick Roy had 13 stops.

"I had extra motivation," Nabokov said. "I had never won
against these guys. So this was special. It was about time."

Nabokov insisted the team shutout mark was of secondary
importance.

"I never pay attention to that," he said. "I know that people
were talking about it. But for me the big thing is to go out and
try to win every game."

Scott Thornton, Marco Sturm and Mike Ricci had goals for the
Sharks, who extended their unbeaten streak to eight games (7-0-1)
and ended Colorado's unbeaten streak at 10 games.

San Jose increased its lead in the Pacific Division to five
points over runner-up Dallas.

With the loss, Colorado fell back into third place in the
Northwest Division. Edmonton has 42 points, Calgary 40 and Colorado
39.

"We haven't had much success against Colorado," Sharks coach
Darryl Sutter said. "We were bound and determined to get through
this one."

San Jose had gone 0-4-3 against Colorado since last beating the
Avs on Dec. 8, 1999.

Sutter said the first period was critical, when San Jose jumped
out to a 2-0 lead despite being outshot 13-5.

"Colorado was flat and we took advantage of our
opportunities," he said. "The shot differential was no
indication. We spent a lot more time in their zone than they spent
in ours."

Sutter called the Avalanche's failure to score on a 5-on-3
advantage for 1:43 of the second period "the turning point of the
game. Our penalty killers did the job. You would expect Colorado to
score in that situation."

Colorado coach Bob Hartley agreed.

"There's an unwritten law of hockey that if you don't score on
a 5-on-3, it is going to be tough to win, and that's exactly what
happened," Hartley said. "They capitalized on their chances, and
our side couldn't buy a goal. Credit has to go to Nabokov, and
their defensemen played well."

Thornton and Sturm had the first-period goals.

Bryan Marchment's shot from the right point was deflected by
Thornton in front of the goal at 9:38.

Less than two minutes later, the Sharks scored on a 2-on-1. When
Colorado defenseman Greg de Vries lost an edge, Teemu Selanne
brought the puck down the right side and, at the last second,
passed to Sturm to the left of the goal at 11:18.

Thornton nearly scored again moments later into an open net,
hitting the post while Roy was out of position after clearing the
puck.

Colorado defenseman Rob Blake limped to the dressing room early
in the period after stopping Gary Suter's shot with his right knee,
but returned to the ice five minutes later.

In the second period, the Avalanche went 0-for-6 on the power
play, including the failed 5-on-3 opportunity. The Avs held a 17-6
edge in shots that period.

Nabokov had a key save off Blake, then stopped Milan Hejduk's
rebound try.

San Jose's Patrick Marleau had a goal disallowed when it was
ruled the net had been dislodged. Barely two minutes later, Ricci
made it 3-0 with a short-handed goal from the left circle at 17:34
of the second.

In the third, Nabokov deflected Stephane Yelle's short-handed
attempt.

Game notes
Roy was trying to extend his NHL record for victories to
498. ... Colorado was 8-0-2 in its previous 10 games. ... It was
San Jose's fourth straight road win. ... It was Colorado's first
loss at home since Oct. 31, when the Avs fell to St. Louis 1-0. ...
San Jose had won only twice in its previous 13 games against
Colorado.