Prior to the Sharks victory against Atlanta, San Jose returned Jamie McGinn, Lukas Kaspar and Brad Staubitz to Worcester as an influx of healthy bodies returned to action. Jeremy Roenick, Tomas Plihal and Jody Shelley all donned the teal again after a stint on the injury shelf and they played a big role in the 3-1 victory.
The game didn’t really had a rhythm for most of the first two periods. Then Jody Shelley squared off with Atlanta’s big Boris Valabik. At first it was tough for either player to gain advantage, but Shelley clearly landed the best punch late in the scrap.
“It provided a lot of momentum for us,” said Roenick. “We were missing enthusiasm. It’s a great thing to have him on the club.”
San Jose jumped out to the 1-0 lead just 30 seconds into the third courtesy of Ryan Clowe and Roenick set up Jonathan Cheechoo on the rush two minutes later to record his 700th career assist. The tally proved to be the game-winner.
Roenick was happy to just be playing again.
“It was awesome,” said Roenick said of his return. “Right when I stepped on the ice, it felt great. Twenty games is a long time to be out.”
Roenick flashed a wink to the crowd when he was put up on the video board.
“It was nice to get back in front of the fans,” said Roenick.
Roenick acknowledged his 700th career helper and the teammates who have helped him reach the plateau.
“Trust me, I’ve played a lot of games with a lot of great players,” said Roenick.
Cheechoo enjoyed helping Roenick reach the 700 club.
“To be part of it is something special,” said Cheechoo, who came has been rounding into form on the homestand.
CAN I SEE SOME ID
The line combination of Roenick (39), Shelley (33) and Claude Lemieux (43) may have added up to more than just points and penalty minutes on the night.
“We’re definitely the oldest line in the NHL,” cracked Roenick.
STREAKING Joe Pavelski
set a career-high point streak of six with an assist on Clowe’s 21st goal of the season. Joe Thornton
continued a five-game point streak (2-8=10) with his 15th goal of the season.
Except for a squeaker of a goal while down two men, the Sharks did a nice job of holding the fort down against a talented Thrashers attack.
Devin Setoguchi played in his 100th NHL game. He has scored 68 points (35-33=68) in the 100 games.
He did not start, but former Sharks netminder Johan Hedberg was the backup for Atlanta on the day.
The Sharks will embark on a four-game road trip on Sunday where they will play four times in six days.
“We have to find a way to win on the road,” said Roenick. “We have to start better on the road and can’t lay goose eggs in the first period.”
The trip includes stops Dallas, Detroit, Montreal or Ottawa.
“Every team is either fighting for a playoff spot or fighting for the top spot,” said Evgeni Nabokov. “
Los Angeles Kings defenseman Denis Gauthier has been suspended for two games, without pay, for his hit to the head of Patrick Marleau
on Feb. 19.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Gauthier will forfeit $22,580.64. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
SHARKS HEAD COACH TODD McLELLAN
“Sometimes these games are a little bit predictable. The standings sometimes get in the way of your preparation. They’re a pretty darn good hockey club offensively. They played their way through here out west, running through some good teams. We tried to have our guys prepared for that, but the energy level wasn’t where it needed to be early in the game. Obviously we came out in the third and played better.”
On Roenick’s return:
“Well, first of all, it was nice to have him back. He injected some energy into our lineup. He was vocal. With him you can tell he hasn’t played for a while. The other guys, some of them are worn out and tired. But he’s our energizer bunny, he’s ready to go every shift. That will rub off on other players. But he also has to understand what these guys have been through. He did a real good job getting us going. There are a few details of the game that have to improve for him, but overall, a heck of a night for him.”
THRASHERS HEAD COACH JOHN ANDERSON
“I thought we did a good job for two periods. That team is so good, you make a couple of mistakes and they all end up in the net.”
“(On the play of Bryan Little) He was struggling there for a little bit, now all of a sudden he has found himself. He’s getting in those little spots where people don’t like to go because you get hacked at, but he is going to those spots and getting good chances.”
“I was surprised how loud it was, it was my first time in here. They have real exciting fans, and they got rocking in here.”
The Sharks will visit Dallas on Monday at 5 p.m. and the game will be on Versus, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.