The last time Jonathan Cheechoo had a two-goal game was on Nov. 9 at Los Angeles. In that game, the Sharks dominated the Kings in a 7-3 win.
On Saturday night, Cheechoo picked up his second two-goal game of the season as the Sharks (21-9-0) defeated the Nashville Predators (18-8-3), 3-1, before 17,496 at HP Pavilion at San Jose.
for video highlights from Saturday night’s game.
The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Sharks and evened their record to 1-1 on this three-game homestand.
San Jose got an immediate chance on the power play when Nashville was called for too many men on the ice at 37 seconds of the first period. But the Sharks needed a little more time to score. At 4:44, Curtis Brown scored on a backhand as he penetrated the slot after taking a pass from Cheechoo on the left wing. Joe Thornton
also got an assist on Brown’s fifth goal of the season to give San Jose a 1-0 lead.
At 14:22, San Jose went on the penalty kill as Joe Pavelski
picked up his first NHL penalty as he was called for hooking.
The Sharks didn’t score then, but they scored at 16:37. Pavelski got the puck in the neutral zone and passed to Thornton, who brought the puck into the Nashville zone. Thornton saw Cheechoo open in the left faceoff circle and gave him a backhand pass. Cheechoo proceeded to one-time a slap shot past Mason for his ninth goal of the season.
San Jose would start the second period shorthanded as they were called for too many men on the ice at 19:59. As the first period ended, the Sharks were leading 2-0 but were being outshot, 10-8.
The Sharks got a power play opportunity at 2:26 when Josef Vasicek was called for hooking. Nashville’s chance with the man advantage came at 10:26 when Thornton was called for hooking. But the Predators lost the power play when Martin Erat was called for holding behind the San Jose goal at 11:11.
Nashville got on the scoreboard at 14:09. Erat brought the puck into the San Jose zone and put a spin move on the right point. He gave the puck to Vasicek, who was trailing on the play. Vasicek drove on the net and put a wrister underneath Nabokov’s glove for his second goal of the season. Scott Hartnell also picked up an assist as the Predators cut San Jose’s lead to 2-1.
At 14:32, the Predators went on the power play as Scott Hannan was called for holding.
After the first 40 minutes, San Jose held a 2-1 lead. Both teams had five shots each in the second period, but Nashville held the overall edge, 15-13.
The Predators got their fifth power play chance of the night when Steve Bernier was called for goaltender interference at 4:59 of the third period. San Jose got their man-advantage chance when Erat was called for hooking at 11:35.
San Jose put the game away late in the third period. Nashville was called for consecutive minors by Vasicek (hooking, 15:15) and Hartnell (delay of game, 16:13). Sixteen seconds after Hartnell’s penalty, the Sharks scored with the two-man advantage as Thornton passed to Cheechoo in the slot and put the puck past Mason for his second goal of the game and 10th of the season.
San Jose out shot Nashville, 13-6, in the final period and 26-21 for the game.
Bell – Thornton – Pavelski
Michalek – Marleau – Bernier
Rissmiller – Goc – Grier
Brown – Cheechoo
McLaren – Carle
Hannan – Ehrhoff
Vlasic – Gorges
Nabokov – Toskala
Before tonight’s game, left wing Ville Nieminen was placed on injured reserve, retroactive to Dec. 7, with a lower body injury. Left wing Ryane Clowe
, who was placed on injured reserve yesterday with a groin injury (retroactive to Nov. 30), was activated…Joe Pavelski
’s father and mother, Mike and Sandy, were in attendance on Saturday night…Nashville was without the services of leading scorer Steve Sullivan, who is day-to-day with a groin injury…Paul Devorski was the lone referee working the third period. His partner, Francois St. Laurent, didn’t work the final 20 minutes because of a knee injury.
San Jose completes their three-game homestand with a game against the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday night. Game time is a half-hour early, set for 7 p.m. The game can be seen on FSN Bay Area and heard on KFOX 98.5 FM, Sharks Radio Network Affiliates and SJSHARKS.com.