The San Jose Sharks headed to Anaheim for the second of back-to-back games and returned home with a split thanks to a 3-2 victory Wednesday night. Jonathan Cheechoo scored twice and Milan Michalek tipped in the game-winner to pull the Sharks within three points of the Pacific Division lead.
San Jose would have to go without Kyle McLaren as the club rested his knee after he returned from a three week layoff the night before. Joe Pavelski
and Mark Smith also missed the contest do to injury.
Team Teal put up five shots on the initial first period power play, but could not grab the opening tally. Then the two offensive power houses exchanged man-advantage chances neither club posting goal number one.
George Parros and Scott Parker looked to finish what they started the night before when they dropped the gloves. Once again though, Parker took Parros to the ice before either heavyweight could land a major blow.
The first period would conclude with zeros on the scoreboard as both clubs were perfect defensively.
Vesa Toskala fended off a couple of strong Ducks chances in the first half of the second period, including an early power play to keep the game tied. Then as the second period neared its midway point, Jonathan Cheechoo broke the ice. Joe Thornton
gathered a loose puck in the Ducks zone and found Cheechoo driving the net. The pass was perfect and the shot was even better.
What wasn’t perfect was the ruling on the ice that a goal wasn’t scored. Fortunately for Team Teal, video review was there to restore order and the 1-0 lead.
San Jose was primed to make it 2-0 when they were set up with more than a minute of five-on-three time, but they could not find another tally and Anaheim used the momentum forge a tie.
Two shifts later Teemu Selanne came down the right wing and lasered a shot to the far post on Toskala to even the duel. The contest would have to be decided in the final period as they headed to the second intermission tied at one.
Less than one minute into the third, the Ducks claimed their first lead of the night. An errant pass from behind Toskala went directly to Anaheim and they connected. Toskala made an excellent save on the first shot, but Shawn Thornton knocked in the rebound to push Anaheim to a 2-1 lead.
With San Jose looking for a tying tally, they again turned to Cheechoo. On a three-on-two rush, Thornton fed Clowe who dished to Cheechoo and the suddenly hot winger roofed it with little angle on the net. The game was tied at two with less than 10 minutes remaining.
Late in the third, Milan Michalek drew a penalty and the Sharks power play moved the lead back to Team Teal. A Marc-Edouard Vlasic
slap shot was redirected by Michalek and with less than four minutes remaining, the Sharks were in the driver’s seat. Clowe added an assist on the tally giving him one on all three Sharks goals.
A delay of game penalty in the final minute gave Anaheim the chance to pull their goaltender for a six-on-four advantage, but Toskala turned away two point bland chances to preserve the victory.
The Sharks will take Thursday off before resuming with some well deserved practice time. Team Teal will not play again until Tuesday when they begin a seven-game road trip in St. Louis.