SAN JOSE, Calif. -- With two shutouts in his first two games, Jeff Hackett might be the solution to the Philadelphia Flyers' annual goaltending problems -- though it won't matter if his teammates can't solve the opposing goalie.
With strong play in every period, Hackett recorded his 25th career shutout. Nabokov got his 18th shutout, but he wasn't required to work nearly as hard.
"It's a good start, but we've just got to keep going," Hackett said. "I had to have a strong technique tonight. They were really attacking and keeping me working."
In was a strange homecoming for Hackett. Ten years ago, he went 2-30-1 in the last of two seasons with the expansion Sharks.
"I think I played my best hockey for here last year, when I got traded through the Sharks to Boston," Hackett said of last season's three-team trade among Montreal, San Jose and the Bruins.
Nabokov, who seems determined to recover from his subpar play last season, got his fourth shutout in a scoreless game since joining the Sharks three seasons ago. Though nobody won, Nabokov felt the Sharks were superior in their home opener.
"We did a lot of good things," he said. "It was a good home start. We were quick, we were reacting (well) and we played good defense. We have a bunch of new guys, and we're getting used to each other. We had to have a game like this under our belts. Even if we don't win, it's a good game because it was a good team effort."
San Jose had its first scoreless tie since Oct. 6, 2001 against Minnesota, also with Nabokov. Philadelphia hadn't played a scoreless game since Feb. 24, 2001 against Tampa Bay, but Hackett kept the Flyers in it despite what Jeremy Roenick said was a "horrendous" offensive effort.
"(Hackett) really played his best hockey in Montreal when we were really shorthanded," said Mark Recchi, Hackett's former teammate with the Canadiens. "We're kind of shorthanded right now, and that's when your best players step up and raise their game."
In perhaps an ominious harbinger of another year in the NHL's Dead Puck Era, the game wasn't even the only scoreless tie Thursday night. The New York Rangers and Atlanta Thrashers also couldn't score.
"It was a great game," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "If we play like this, then I'm happy, and likewise, I think our fans would be happy."
Vincent Damphousse thought he had won it for San Jose 3:47 into overtime when he deflected the puck under Hackett's pads as the goalie slid into the net. But Hackett swept the puck away with his leg, and video replay didn't show conclusive evidence of a goal.
"You can't see the puck, but you know it goes in," Wilson said. "We don't use logic. Clearly the leg was 2 feet over the line, but you don't see the puck, and the rule says you have to see the puck. What are you going to do?"
The Sharks held Philadelphia scoreless on five power plays -- a positive sign for the NHL's worst penalty-killing team last season. San Jose earned a point in its home opener for just the second time in the past seven seasons.
In the opener of a four-game West Coast road trip, the Flyers got a golden opportunity when San Jose's Marco Sturm received a double minor for high-sticking with 5:32 left in regulation. The Sharks adeptly killed all four minutes, though Philadelphia rattled the post early in the sequence.
Both teams failed to score on two-man advantages in the second period. Philadelphia got two separate chances totaling 1:57 early in the period, while San Jose couldn't score on 73 seconds with the advantage shortly before the second intermission.
- LW Boyd Kane, in the United League three seasons ago, made his NHL debut for Philadelphia.
- Before the game, San Jose recalled LW Lynn Loyns from its top affiliate in Cleveland. Loyns scored three goals in 19 games with the Sharks last season. He took the lineup spot of first-round pick Milan Michalek, whose home debut was delayed by a sore knee.
- Philadelphia RW Radovan Somik had arthroscopic surgery on torn cartilage in his left knee.
- John LeClair and Donald Brashear also are out of the Flyers' lineup, while D Brad Stuart is out for San Jose. LeClair, who has a broken foot, could return during the four-game road trip.
The Associated Press News Service
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