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Sharks Stop Ducks Again

April 03, 2002|From Associated Press

SAN JOSE — The Ducks lost for the fifth time in seven games as Adam Graves had a goal and an assist and Evgeni Nabokov stopped 25 shots Tuesday night as the San Jose Sharks prevailed, 3-1.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 27 shots as the Ducks, the Pacific Division's last-place team, lost for the eighth time in their last 10 meetings with the Sharks.

Captain Owen Nolan had three assists, while Vincent Damphousse and Patrick Marleau also scored as the Sharks reclaimed sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division with their fourth victory in six games.

The victory pushed San Jose (40-25-8-3, 91 points) ahead of Phoenix (37-24-9-6, 89 points) in the division race. The surprising Coyotes, who visit San Jose on Thursday, have emerged as the biggest obstacle in the Sharks' quest for the first division title in franchise history.

San Jose didn't need much offense to back Nabokov, who had lost four of his previous six decisions.

With his 33rd victory, Nabokov broke the franchise record he established last season. Though he lost the chance at his eighth shutout on Sami Pahlsson's goal with 40 seconds to play, Nabokov made several spectacular saves--including a point-blank stop of Steve Rucchin earlier in the third period.

San Jose has three victories in the first four games of a six-game homestand. The Sharks also beat the Ducks for the fourth time in five meetings this season.

After matching a franchise record with 10 goals in their last game against Columbus, the Sharks proved they can thrive in a close-checking defensive game as well.

Graves scored an opportunistic goal just 1:52 into the second period after Nolan threaded a long centering pass into Anaheim's crease. Standing in front, Graves tapped the rebound past Giguere for his 16th goal of the season.

Damphousse got his 19th goal of the season 7:22 into the third. Marleau, who has eight points in his last four games, added a late goal.

Teemu Selanne had an assist against his former team.

Meanwhile, Duck defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky missed his fourth consecutive game because of a groin injury.

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