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Cheechoo Heating Up For Sharks

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks
The San Jose Sharks used the shootout to topple Chicago 3-2 Saturday afternoon at HP Pavilion and push their home winning streak to three. San Jose manhandled Chicago everywhere but the scoreboard as they doubled the Blackhawks up in shots and scored the victory in the game’s early fight. However, after 65 minutes of action, the game was still tied.


“Khabibulin was shutting the door for them,” said Evgeni Nabokov of his counterpart. “I thought we outplayed them.”

Team Teal stuck with there battle plan all night and were finally rewarded with the two points.

Jonathan Cheechoo scored the Sharks first tally and has put his stamp back in the goal scoring column, posting four goals in the last four games and six in the last eight.

“People have expectations for me to score and I know that’s my job,” said Cheechoo. “It’s been going well. The puck’s been bouncing for me and Joe and Milan have been finding me. I’ve had a couple of open nets and that’s nice. It’s a matter of confidence.”

Cheechoo noted that he’s not looking to be pretty out there, but rather just hunting for results.

“I’m not the prettiest skater, but it’s a matter of getting to the right spot,” said Cheechoo. “If I have to bump into somebody on the way, that’s the way it is.”

1ST GAME
Jody Shelley did not only dress in his first Sharks game, but Wilson opted to put him in the starting lineup.

“I wanted the fans to give him a big cheer right off the bat,” said Wilson. “I didn’t want him sitting there wondering. I wanted to show faith in him.”

Shelley was as excited as he’d been for quite some time.

“That’s a fun start,” said Shelley. “I was so jacked up to be out there with Joe and Jeremy. I didn’t know what to expect. It was like it was my first game. I’m glad we got the win. I’ve only been here three to four days, but I’m pretty proud to be in this room.”

Shelley made a big hit 15 seconds into the game that started a scrum and a fight, although it did not involve him. Douglas Murray ended up throwing the blows and taking the decision.

“We planned to get the puck deep and all of a sudden there’s a skirmish,” said Shelley. “We didn’t expect it to be rough. It was just a little collision and things got a little heated. Murray stepped in and I was pretty pumped about that. He can take care of himself.”

1ST GOAL
The Sharks Marc-Edouard Vlasic posted his first tally of the season. On the play, Vlasic was down near the faceoff circle and had traffic in front.

“I just put it upstairs,” said Vlasic. “I knew Cheech was there. I’m happy to have my first and hopefully there will be more to come.”

SHOOTOUT ADVANTAGE
Wilson thinks he may have found a successful recipe for the Sharks previous shootout woes.

“I’m blessed with a lot of right shots and that’s a distinct advantage on a right catching goaltender,” said Wilson. “It can go over the glove easier.”

Wilson surprised virtually everyone by tabbing Tomas Plihal to be the first shooter, although the young Czech was unsuccessful.

“It threw a different guy out there who might be excited and who Khabibulin had never seen before,” said Wilson.

Wilson used his ace in the hole at crunch time and a familiar face to Khabibulin for the game-winner.

Joe Pavelski has a great record,” said Wilson. “He’s seven for 10. J.R. played a lot with Khabibulin in Phoenix in the past and I thought he’d have a pretty good idea what to do.”

Pavelski relishes his post-overtime role and the fun of the shootout.

“It’s fun for the fans,” said Pavelski. “The penalty shot was always the most exciting part of the game.”

BLACKHAWKS, HEAD COACH DENIS SAVARD
“It’s a tough game. I’ve got to give them a lot of credit. They’re a big team. In order to get the Stanley Cup, we’re going to have to cross paths with them at some point. We haven’t won here in a long time, but we gave ourselves a chance to win. We came within one shot of winning. It’s unfortunate because it was a superb performance by Khabibulin.”

“You look at their team with the size and the strength. We were in the penalty box a lot tonight. A lot of their shots came mostly on the power-play. Overall it’s a good thing for us to try to emulate a team like that. They’re big, strong, they battle and they finish checks everywhere. They really wear you down. But we battled right to the end.”

OT RECORD
The Sharks tied a franchise record with 6 shots on goal in overtime, last accomplished April, 6, 2003 vs. Phoenix in a 3-3 tie.

1ST IN A WHILE
This was the Sharks first shootout win at HP Pavilion since Oct. 29, 2005 (vs. Calgary with Nolan Schaefer in net).

FORMER SHARKS PROSPECT
The Fresno Falcons (ECHL) announced they have named former Falcon goaltender Terry Friesen as the team’s goaltending coach. Friesen will assist the Falcons’ coaching staff throughout the season, and will work with the team’s goaltenders as his schedule permits. The native of Winkler, Manitoba was a third-round selection, 55th overall, of the San Jose Sharks in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft, which remains the highest goaltender selection in Sharks’ history. He made his pro debut with the ECHL’s Richmond Renegades in 1998-99, and also appeared in one AHL game that season with the Kentucky Thoroughblades.

NEXT GAME
San Jose will host Colorado on Wednesday night in a 7:30 p.m. contest that will be aired on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com. Limited tickets are still available at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com.


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