The San Jose Sharks took a big step to righting their ship on Thursday night. The final score of 3-2, plus the requirement of the shootout, simply weren’t indicative of the performance put on by the men in teal. The Sharks seemed to dominate from the first puck drop, but had to deal with a couple of bad breaks that led to two Nashville goals.
“It was a good effort,” said Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan. “It was reminiscent of the last two periods in Phoenix, so that’s five good ones in a row. I’m particularly happy for Cheechoo, that he could come out and get the game-winner in the shootout.”
“I thought we came out and played well for 60 minutes,” said Cheechoo.
Cheechoo was definitely the hero thanks to his shootout winner when he sealed the hard earned victory. It was the only time he hit the back of the net on the night, but he seemed to be buzzing the crease and skating hard all evening while on the top line with Joe Thornton
and Patrick Marleau
“I thought Cheechoo has a spark in him that we’ve seen throughout the year, but not on a consistent basis,” said McLellan. “It makes me really excited about coming to the rink tomorrow and putting him back on that line. I thought Setoguchi had a little spark going there, too.”
“I got some chances and I want to start putting them in,” said Cheechoo.
Having Cheechoo on the top line seemed to work for everybody as Devin Setoguchi filled in for Ryane Clowe
with Joe Pavelski
and Milan Michalek and they produced the game’s opening tally.
“It felt great,” said Setoguchi. “We had a lot of opportunities and were getting the puck to the net.”
The Sharks were playing strong and up 1-0 when Nashville found their two goals, one off a deflection and a second from a jumping puck that created a breakaway. San Jose responded though with Milan Michalek’s goal with just 3.1 seconds remaining in the stanza.
“It just happens,” said Setoguchi of the Nashville’s breakaway. “It just rolled over (Pavelski’s stick). We got one right back at the end of the period.”
When it came to the shootout, McLellan put Cheechoo in the final spot and he was the man with a plan.
“I go in with a plan and see when he’s doing,” said Cheechoo of the opposing netminder. “He was out a little high.”
Brad Staubitz and Nashville’s Jordan Tootoo got into a battle and it was a one-sided affair. Staubitz unloaded with six straight punches that bloodied the Nashville forward. It was one of the more one-sided tussles in HP Pavilion history.
“The boys were excited and they liked seeing it,” said Staubitz. “When teams see two guys battling, it’s a spark for both teams. There is momentum with a fight.”
“He gave us a spark,” said Setoguchi. “It was a momentum boost. The last couple of games, he and Shelley have done a good job.
McLellan saw more than just the fight.
“The fight was one thing, but it was his play as well,” said McLellan. “He provided energy and finished his checks. He is rapidly becoming a permanent NHLer.”
Michalek’s goal was his 20th goal of this season, making the Sharks the second NHL team this season (Philadelphia) to have six 20+ goal scorers (Marleau, Setoguchi, Thornton, Clowe, Pavelski, Michalek).
Sharks prospect Logan Couture
was recently named the OHL’s player of the week.
PREDATORS, HEAD COACH BARRY TROTZ
“I didn’t like the fact that in the first period, we took too many penalties. That’s just too dangerous against the Sharks, with the way they move around and the personnel they have. I thought in the second and third, we did much better. We stayed out of the box, and we battled real hard against these guys – we played last night – and we’ll take the point. It was a well-deserved point.”
“I thought we played pretty well, and I thought they played pretty well. Both teams played with pretty good intensity, we had to go to shootout, and anything can happen. We had a great chance with two minutes to go, Legwand had the breakaway and got the puck off the rebound and shot it out the back door, sort of. If we’d scored there, you never know.”
The Sharks will host Dallas at 1 p.m. on Saturday and the contest will be on CSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com. Tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office or at www.ticketmaster.com.