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Cheechoo Sinks the Blues, Sharks Win 4-1

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks
San Jose, CA - San Jose and St. Louis played Thursday night at HP Pavilion in each club’s final game before the All-Star break. Jonathan Cheecho lead the Sharks with two power-play goals in the third period to lift San Jose over the Blues, 4-1.

San Jose Sharks right wing Jonathan Cheechoo, right, celebrates after scoring past St. Louis Blues goalie Manny Legace (34) and defenseman Bryce Salvador (27) in the third period of their NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
 All-Star netminders Evgeni Nabokov and Manny Legace were the goalies for the contest.

The defenses ruled the early part of the night as just one shot was posted between both clubs through 10 minutes.

It was 14 minutes in before the first quality shot was taken. St. Louis’ Andy McDonald came streaming down the right wing and slapped one on net, but Nabokov had it covered the entire way and the period remained scoreless.

The flow picked up later in the first and San Jose closed out the period with 46.5 of power play time thanks to a Barret Jackman slash. But the power play would have to carry over into the second as the game was scoreless after 20 minutes.

Milan Michalek just missed at point blank range to begin the second, but he would connect at the seven minute mark to open the second period scoring.

On an odd-man rush with Joe Thornton, the Czech winger connected the second time around. Michalek attempted to one-time Thornton’s pass, but couldn’t get enough of the blade on it. The puck stuck with him though and when he looked to throw it back to Thornton, he innocently placed the puck in the air right in front of himself and knocked it in.

St. Louis looked for a quick response, but Nabokov laid down on the ice to prevent an easy rebound shot from in close and the 1-0 lead was preserved.

There was a bit of a scuffle at the end of the second period, but the only penalty went to Patrick Rissmiller for roughing. San Jose had their 1-0 lead intact after 40 minutes.

When a St. Louis penalty wiped out the Blues power play to start the second, San Jose made it 2-0 on their ensuing advantage. Taking a Thornton feed to the left of Legace, Michalek blindly threw the puck across the slot on the backhand to the wide open Jonathan Cheechoo. The pride of Moose Factory, Ontario slammed home before the St. Louis netminder could think about moving over.

With 11:55 left in regulation, San Jose pushed their lead to 3-0. Patrick Marleau stared skating in from the half-boards and fed Steve Bernier in the high slot. Tomas Plihal was causing trouble in front of Legace and Bernier snapped a one-timer inside the far post.

St. Louis finally solved Nabokov while on a four-on-three power play. Mike Grier’s stick broke on the faceoff when the puck ended up with former Shark Brad Boyes, his slap shot found its way just between the post and Nabokov, making the count 3-1.

St. Louis Blues head coach Andy Murray gets emotional as he is held back after the Blues lost to the San Jose Sharks 4-1 in their NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
With five minutes left in the third, San Jose again took a three goal lead as Cheechoo lit the lamp for the second time. St. Louis’s Keith Tkachuk was in the penalty box and San Jose took advantage as Michalek put the puck on net and Cheechoo forced it across the line.

The game ended 4-on-4 as Dan Hinote, chasing the puck behind the net, took a big slash in the direction of Nabokov with about a minute remaining and Sharks blueliner Sandis Ozolinsh wasted little time in taking him down to the ice.  Both players received penalties for the altercation and Nabokov was issued an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for yapping after the play.

The chippiness continued as the buzzer sounded giving the Sharks the 4-1 victory as all 10 skaters on the ice got tangled up, and even the coaches on the bench started shouting at each other, but cooler heads prevailed and nothing materialized.





Joe Thornton, Milan Michalek and Ron Wilson will take part in the All-Star festivities this weekend on Versus. The Young Stars game will take place Saturday at 4 p.m. PST while the All-Star Game itself will be at 3 p.m. PST on Sunday.

From the AP Wire

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Jonathan Cheechoo scored twice in the third period and the San Jose Sharks beat the St. Louis Blues 4-1 Thursday night to move into a tie atop the Pacific Division heading into the All-Star break.

San Jose Sharks right wing Jonathan Cheechoo (14) is congratulated by left wing Milan Michalek (9), of Germany, after Cheechoo scored on the St. Louis Blues in the third period of their NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

Milan Michalek and Steve Bernier also scored for the Sharks, who won for the fifth time in seven home games to move to .500 in their own building. Evgeni Nabokov stopped 17 shots for his second straight win after a three-game losing streak.

Brad Boyes scored his team-leading 29th goal for the Blues, who are 0-5-2 in their past seven games. Manny Legace stopped 22 shots in his third game in five days, including the past two.

Joe Thornton had three assists to move into a first-place tie in the NHL with 45. Thornton has two goals and 13 assists in his last nine games.

The victory helped the Sharks tighten up the division race even further. San Jose and Dallas are tied with 61 points, one ahead of Anaheim.

Michalek gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead at 6:57 of the second period. He took a pass from Thornton, fanned on a shot and recovered to backhand the puck over Legace's stick. Matt Carle picked up a Blues turnover and dumped it down the ice to Thornton.

Michalek's no-look pass across the crease led to Cheechoo's first score, a power-play goal with 16:41 remaining to play.

Bernier scored his goal five minutes later from the top of the crease after taking a short pass from Patrick Marleau.

Boyes made it 3-1 off a faceoff but Cheechoo's second power-play goal put the game out of reach.

Notes: C Yan Stastny, who had his Blues' debut pushed back after his flight was delayed on Wednesday, was a healthy scratch. ... Legace played on consecutive days for just the second time this season. ... The Sharks first shot on goal was with 9:07 remaining in the first period. ... Thornton moved into sole possession of sixth place on the Sharks career points list with 265 in his 189th game in a San Jose jersey. ... Cheechoo recorded his 30th career multigoal game. ... The Blues' Paul Kariya had an assist and has 59 points in 53 games against the Sharks.

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