Nabokov becomes Sharks' career wins leader

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Evgeni Nabokov has come a long way in a
short time.

He's in just his second full season with the San Jose Sharks,
and he's already their career leader in victories after he stopped
24 shots in the Sharks' 4-0 victory Sunday night over the Carolina

"Records are nice to have, but it's more important that we won
our third game in a row at home," said Nabokov, who has 58 wins in
128 career games. "It's a tough division and we can't afford to
lose at home."

Nabokov entered the game tied with current Carolina goalie
Arturs Irbe, who did not play, with 57 wins.

"It was destiny for me to be here tonight and see him break my
record," Irbe said. "I'm not surprised he broke it because he's a
very good goalie. I'm just surprised it lasted so long."

Patrick Marleau scored twice for the Pacific Division-leading
Sharks, who extended their winning streak to four games. Teemu
Selanne had a goal and assist, and Owen Nolan also scored.

"We've been getting good chances every game and that's a good
sign," Selanne said. "It's a lot of fun when you find

Tom Barrasso had 23 saves for the Hurricanes, who lead the
Southeast Division despite their recent 2-4-6 slide. Carolina plays
next on Feb. 26, though Irbe (Latvia) and Barrasso (United States)
will both participate in the Olympics.

"I was disappointed in the way we played in the first period,"
Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "I thought after the third goal
we started to play a little bit better."

Irbe wanted to play for Latvia on Sunday night, but instead
watched the Hurricanes from the bench.

"The coaches and players here did everything they could to
accommodate me," Irbe said. "Then the league stepped in. I called
(NHL commissioner) Gary Bettman to talk about this and tell him how
it feels and what it means to play for one's country."

Nabokov, drafted by the Sharks in 1994 when Irbe was still in
San Jose, recorded his seventh shutout of the season -- his second
in three games -- and the 14th of his career.

Nabokov, a native of Kazakhstan, said he didn't know much about
the NHL when he was drafted, but he knew about Irbe, who has 198
NHL wins.

"He was a big name. We knew him as the goalie for Dynamo
Riga," said Nabokov, whose parents were in town for the game.

Marleau gave San Jose a 1-0 lead with 13:04 left in the first
period. After taking a pass from Alexander Korolyuk, who had two
assists, Marleau skated down the right side and attacked the net,
beating Barrasso to the stick side.

Selanne, who scored just his third goal in 24 games, scored a
short-handed goal with 1:30 left in the first. The puck came loose
in front and Selanne one-timed it in for San Jose's 14th
short-handed goal of the season, second in the league to the New
York Islanders' 15.

"Every line has been taking turns and tonight it was our
line," said Marleau, who teams with Selanne and Korolyuk. "This
whole year different people have been scoring at different times."

Nolan's goal, early in the second period, put the Sharks up 3-0.
Marco Sturm was trying to punch it in from behind the net as
Barrasso lay sprawled out in the crease. The puck came free on the
left to Nolan, who had an open net.

Marleau scored again early in the third period. Selanne's shot
hit the right post and bounced straight to Marleau, who slapped the
puck into the net.

Game notes
Sturm flew to Salt Lake City on Saturday morning to compete
with the German Olympic team, then flew back to San Jose in time to
play Sunday. ... The Hurricanes, with the help of the Olympic
Break, play their next home game on March 8. Since playing host to
Pittsburgh on Feb. 5, Carolina plays eight straight on the road.
... Sharks C Vincent Damphousse had an assist and has 62 points in
58 career games against Carolina. ... Nolan has scored in three of
four games. ... Sharks D Bryan Marchment left the game with a sore
left knee.