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Dunham makes 25 saves; Nedved OT hero

12/17/2002

NEW YORK (AP) -- Mike Dunham hasn't been with the New York
Rangers long enough to have the "Oh no, not again'' feeling when
things go bad early.

Dunham allowed a goal on the first shot he faced as a member of
the Rangers but then stopped 25 straight as New York rallied to
beat the San Jose Sharks 2-1 in overtime Monday night.

"It was exciting out there and to be honest with you, I was
nervous,'' said Dunham, a native of Johnson City, N.Y. "This is
Madison Square Garden and playing for the home team is a whole lot
different than playing for the visiting team.''

Petr Nedved scored 2:25 into overtime, after Matthew Barnaby
tied it with a late second-period goal. Patrick Marleau gave San
Jose a 1-0 lead just 4:51 in.

"It was a great goal,'' Dunham said. "You're going to give up
goals and I got the first one out of the way quick.

"We got the win, which was important, and I got more
comfortable as the game went on.''

Nedved, who earlier was stopped on a breakaway, took a pass in
the slot from Radek Dvorak, spun and slid a shot past backup goalie
Miikka Kiprusoff that snapped the Rangers' five game losing streak.

Nedved threw his hands up, looking relieved. He missed an open
net that would have tied a game last Wednesday in the closing
seconds of a one-goal loss to Chicago.

"You can't help but to think about it but there's no point
moping around for a week,'' Nedved said. "What I was trying to do
is get motivated by it. When you've get chances, you've got to park
it.''

A defensive breakdown during a power play allowed the Sharks to
grab the lead.

San Jose defenseman Dan McGillis dropped a pass down from the
right point to the left corner to Teemu Selanne, who quickly slid
the puck across the slot to an unchecked Patrick Marleau. He fired
a shot past Dunham for his 13th goal.

It was the first time someone other than 19-year-old Dan
Blackburn has started in goal for the Rangers since Mike Richter on
Nov. 5. That night, Richter sustained a concussion that ended his
season and led to the acquisition last Thursday of Dunham from
Nashville.

Blackburn started 18 straight games and was relieved in only one
-- the 17th.

"Dunham was exactly what we were looking for,'' Rangers captain
Mark Messier said. "He couldn't do anything about the first goal
but really shut the door after that.''

New York tied the game late in the second period when former
Rangers fan-favorite Adam Graves turned the puck over to Bobby
Holik, who sent a pass toward the San Jose end. Eric Lindros deftly
tapped the puck to a streaking Matthew Barnaby, who went in alone
and scored his fourth goal with 1:02 left in the period.

The Rangers nearly grabbed the lead twice in the first half of
the third. Defenseman Richard Lintner, recalled from the minors
earlier Monday, had two whacks at the puck in front, but couldn't
beat Kiprusoff, playing just his eighth game this season.

He finished with a season-high 27 saves.

Evgeni Nabokov had started 14 straight Sharks games in goal and
21 of 22. He earned his first shutout of the season Saturday at
home against Washington. Kiprusoff's last start also was against
the Rangers, a 5-4 home loss on Nov. 11.

This was another one the Sharks felt they let slip away.

"When we were up 1-0 we had all those chances we should have
buried,'' Selanne said. "One point is always good. The other one
was available but we couldn't take it away.''

Graves, traded to the Sharks by New York in June 2001, was
cheered when announced in the starting lineup for his 1,100th NHL
game.

Game notes
New York also recalled forwards Billy Tibbetts and Gordie
Dwyer, and goalie Johan Holmqvist from Hartford of the AHL. All
were in the lineup, and Holmqvist served as Dunham's backup. ...
San Jose forward Scott Thornton was scratched. He left Saturday
night's game with tightness in his back. ... The Sharks, who began
a five-game, eight-night East Coast road trip, fell to 3-2 under
new coach Ron Wilson. ... The Rangers are 4-1-4 in overtime.