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Captain Completes Comeback in OT, 3-2

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks

SAN JOSE, Calif. --
Captain Patrick Marleau capped off a thrilling come from behind victory in overtime over the Ottawa Senators, 3-2, on Wednesday night at HP Pavilion. With the victory, San Jose moved past Anaheim for sole possesion of fourth place in the West.

San Jose battled with Ottawa for the first and only time this season. Ron Wilson sent out the same lineup that topped Montreal and Martin Gerber was in net for the Senators. Ottawa Captain Daniel Alfredsson missed the game with a rib injury.

San Jose was forced into a difficult penalty kill in the game’s opening minute when one of their top penalty killers, Torrey Mitchell, was called for tripping. The lack of Mitchell helped Ottawa in keeping the puck in, but in the end, Nabokov and crew did their job.

Ottawa dominated the play early, but the Sharks played strong in the latter half as the first period shots concluded 8-7 in favor of Ottawa. Neither club could find a goal though and things ended without a tally in the first.

The second began with two strong chances by the Sharks as both Joe Pavelski and Milan Michalek brought the fans to the edge of their seats. Neither play resulted in a goal though. When play moved to the other end of the ice, it appeared as if Jason Spezza’s slick move was going to give him a goal, but Nabokov was there with the pokecheck.

Six minutes into the second Martin Lapointe lined up Douglas Murray for an open ice blast, but Murray noticed the rushing Senator, moved the puck and then delivered a blow that put Lapointe on the ice.

Ottawa Senators goalie Martin Gerber, left, stops a shot on goal by San Jose Sharks right wing Devin Setoguchi, center, as defenseman Luke Richardson (2) defends in the second period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Wednesday, March 5, 2008. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Near the game’s midway point, the Sharks finally had their first power play. The pressure was there, however, a goal could not be found while up a man.

As even strength play returned, Ottawa finally opened the scoring. The Senators forced a turnover in the Sharks defensive zone and when the puck ended up on the stick of Jason Spezza, the Senators star roofed it from in close.

It would have been two to zero a minute later had Nabokov not quickly adjusted on a Randy Robitaille shot from in close.

San Jose almost found the tying goal late in the middle period, but the shot in close was tipped and popped above the net. San Jose had a late power play that had Gerber’s head on a swivel, but the second finished with Ottawa up a goal.

Team Teal still had a minute of power play time left to start the third and with two seconds left in the advantage, they tied the game. Working the puck down low in the corner, Brian Campbell fed Captain Patrick Marleau open in the slot and he delivered with a one-timer to the top right corner.

Ottawa looked to retake the lead when they stepped into a power play near the 15 minute mark, but the penalty killers didn’t allow a single shot and maintained the tie. In fact, Ottawa didn’t record a shot through 11 minutes of third period action.

That shot drought for Ottawa did not last long and when they took to a power play with eight left, their second shot of the period resulted in a goal After winning the faceoff, the puck moved back to Cory Stillman who ramped up a shot that was tipped in by Spezza.

San Jose did kill off a subsequent Ottawa power play to give themselves a fighting chance late.

San Jose Sharks center Patrick Marleau (12), right, is mobbed by teammates after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime against the Ottawa Senators in an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Wednesday, March 5, 2008. San Jose won, in overtime, 3-2. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Before it even became necessary for San Jose to pull Nabokov for the extra attacker, San Jose tied the game courtesy of the stick of the red hot Jonathan Cheechoo. While the Moose Factory, Ont. product was driving the net, Thornton delivered a perfect pass from the left wing and Cheechoo simply knocked it past Gerber.

The game would need extra time to decide who would earn the additional point.

The Captain would seal the Sharks comeback 3:05 into the extra frame, claiming the extra point with his jam that powered its way through Gerber's right pad and into the corner of the net for the thrilling 3-2 victory.




From The AP Wire

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -Patrick Marleau's name was bandied about in rumors all last month leading to up the trading deadline. The decision by the San Jose Sharks to keep their captain just might have been the spark he needed to turn around a difficult season.

San Jose Sharks right wing Jonathan Cheechoo, left, scores past Ottawa Senators goalie Martin Gerber to tie the game 2-2 in the third period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Wednesday, March 5, 2008. San Jose won, in overtime, 3-2. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Marleau scored his second goal of the game 3:05 into overtime to lead the Sharks to their seventh straight win, 3-2 over the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night.

"A world of weight has been taken off his shoulders," said coach Ron Wilson, who had been Marleau's harshest critic since last postseason. "That's helped. It's always hard to play when you're worrying about being traded. That news that he wasn't energized him."

Marleau downplayed any relief he might have felt when he stayed in San Jose, but his performance speaks otherwise. He has three goals and three assists in the five games since the deadline after scoring only 10 goals in his first 58 games.

The winner came when Joe Pavelski centered a pass from behind the net that Marleau knocked past Martin Gerber for his 13th goal, and third in two games.

"It's nice to help the team defensively and offensively," he said. "Anytime you can chip in and help the team get two points, you have to be happy with your game."

The Sharks rallied from a pair of one-goal deficits in the third period, winning for just the third time in 23 games this season when they trailed after two periods.

San Jose made up ground in the Pacific Division on Dallas and Anaheim, which both lost Wednesday night. The Sharks moved one point past the Ducks and within three of the first-place Stars.

Jason Spezza scored both goals for the Senators, who have lost five of six and fell for just the fourth time in 30 games when leading after two.

Senators general manager-coach Bryan Murray probably wished he hadn't stuck around for the end of this game after being ejected late in the third period of Monday night's loss in Anaheim. Murray, who fired coach John Paddock late last month, fell to 1-3 since taking over the coaching duties.

"I thought we played well defensively, a 2-1 hockey game until late," Murray said. "We gave up a turnover in the neutral zone and that was the difference in them being able to tie it up. Other than that, I thought we were going to survive and get the two points."

Marleau also scored on the power play in the opening minute of the third period to tie it at 1 for San Jose. Marleau one-timed a pretty pass from newly acquired Brian Campbell in his first two-goal game of the season.

"Patty did all of the work tonight," said Campbell, who has five points in five games with San Jose. "I'm just trying to be creative out there."

Spezza gave Ottawa a 2-1 lead on the power play when he deflected a shot from the boards by Cory Stillman past Evgeni Nabokov with 7:10 remaining for his 27th goal.

San Jose Sharks center Patrick Marleau, obscured, is hugged by teammates Douglas Murray (left), Craig Rivet (52), and Joe Pavelski (8) as Ottawa Senators goalie Martin Gerber, right, skates by after Marleau's game-winning overtime goal in an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Wednesday, March 5, 2008. San Jose won, in overtime, 3-2. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

But the Sharks answered in the closing minutes when Jonathan Cheechoo deflected Joe Thornton's centering pass in with 2:46 remaining in regulation. The goal was Cheechoo's 21st of the season and 16th in the last 23 games.

"It's disappointing to get a lead late in the game and not hold it," said Gerber, who made 27 saves. "You should be able to bring it home."

Nabokov made 17 saves for the Sharks, who held Ottawa to a season-low 19 shots.

There were few scoring chances early until Ottawa capitalized on a mistake by San Jose midway through the second period. Chris Kelly and Dany Heatley combined to steal the puck from Douglas Murray in the Sharks' zone. Heatley then fed Spezza, who beat Evgeni Nabokov from in front to give the Senators the 1-0 lead with his 26th goal.

Notes: Ottawa leading scorer Daniel Alfredsson missed the game after being cross-checked in the ribs Monday at Anaheim. ... Sharks F Jeremy Roenick missed his second straight game with the flu. ... This was the Senators' first game in San Jose in 1,600 days, a 4-1 victory on Oct. 18, 2003. The teams last played in Ottawa on Jan. 12, 2006.

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