- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 31, 2009

SAN JOSE, Calif. | The San Jose Sharks became the first team in more than 27 years to score on two penalty shots in a game and went on to win their sixth straight, 5-2 over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night.

Joe Thornton and Ryane Clowe scored on the penalty shots, making San Jose the first team since Vancouver on Feb. 11, 1982, at Detroit to score twice on penalty shots.

The highly anticipated matchup between first-place teams from opposite conferences featured four of the top 10 scorers this season and three of top six goalscorers. But it proved to be a mismatch on the ice.

The Sharks overwhelmed Washington in the first period and took control with a pair of goals in a 75-second span, got stellar goaltending from Evgeni Nabokov to hold off the Capitals in the second and coasted to their the win in the third period.

The victory was San Jose’s seventh straight at home against the Capitals, who haven’t won in San Jose since Oct. 30, 1993. They have lost nine games and tied one since then.

Joe Pavelski scored two goals and Torry Mitchell also scored for San Jose. Nabokov made 24 saves, allowing third-period goals to Alex Ovechkin and Mike Knuble.

The game capped a memorable day for the Sharks. Earlier, five members of the team found out they would be playing in the Olympics. Thornton, Dany Heatley, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle were picked for the Canadian team and backup goalie Thomas Greiss was chosen for Germany.

Thornton scored his 11th goal on the penalty shot in the third period. Jon Erskine got called for the penalty when he lost his stick while diving at Thornton’s legs from behind on a breakaway. Thornton then beat Michal Neuvirth for the goal.

Clowe converted on his penalty shot late in the second, marking the first time in team history the Sharks have scored two penalty shot goals in a game. Clowe got his when he took control of a loose puck as he came out of the penalty box and was taken down by a sliding Mike Green. Clowe then beat Neuvirth with a backhand to make it 3-0.

Nabokov shut down Olympic teammates Ovechkin and Alexander Semin and the rest of the Capitals until the Sharks had the game under control in the third. Ovechkin finally broke through with his 26th goal with a big shot off a face off midway through the third that cut San Jose’s lead to 5-2.

Semin got good chances in the second but was robbed by a glove save and stopped on a 2-on-1 a few minutes later. Nabokov helped San Jose kill four penalties in the second, including a two-man advantage for 50 seconds in the opening minute of the period.

The Sharks controlled the first period, outshooting the Capitals 13-3 and scoring the two quick goals late in the period. Pavelski got San Jose started when he took a pass off the boards from Heatley and beat Neuvirth with a shot from the faceoff circle.

Just over a minute later, Mitchell tipped in a shot from Frazer McLaren after setting him up with nifty back pass for his first goal since Feb. 27, 2008.

Pavelski, looking to join his teammates at the Olympics when the U.S. team is announced Friday, added his ninth goal in the third period.

NOTES: Thomas Gradin and Ivan Hlinka scored on penalty shots for Vancouver in the 1982 game. … Jason Chimera made his debut for Washington, two days after being acquired from Columbus in a trade for Chris Clark and Milan Jurcina. He assisted on Knuble’s goal. … The Sharks are three for four on penalty shots this season with Heatley converting and Mitchell missing on his attempt.

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