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Sharks Snap Four-Game Skid, Down Hawks 3-2

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The San Jose Sharks snapped their four-game skid, downing a Chicago Blackhawks team that entered the game on a four-game winning streak, 3-2, on Tuesday night at HP Pavilion.

San Jose played their next to last game prior to the All-Star break when the Chicago visited HP Pavilion Tuesday night. Evgeni Nabokov and Patrick Lalime started in net and Tomas Plihal made his season debut for San Jose. Jonathan Cheechoo started the night reunited with Joe Thornton and Milan Michalek.

Five minutes into the evening Chicago opened the scoring. A simple point shot by Brent Sopel was stopped by Nabokov, but Jack Skille was able to locate the loose puck before anyone else and lifted it above the Sharks downed netminder.



San Jose avoided a two-goal deficit minutes later when a Duncan Keith slap shot from the blueline found its way through screens to the back of the net, but the linesman on the spot called offsides just prior to the shot.

During some four-on-four time, Patrick Marleau hit Michalek with a home run pass, but a Chicago defender whacking at Michalek’s wrist foiled the breakaway shot.

San Jose would find their first goal at the 13:10 mark courtesy of the power play following a high stick to Devin Setoguchi. Setting up shot in the offensive zone, Team Teal worked the puck on the perimeter. When Sandis Ozolinsh took a pass down low, he forced a defender to the ice and then lifted his backhand to the near side. Lalime’s vantage point was skewed by Cheechoo and the game was tied at one.

With 1:46 left in the opening period, strong forechecking by Marleau forced Jordan Hendry into a delay of game penalty and San Jose looked for the late lead. However, the power play would be forced to carry 14 seconds into the middle period as the first finished knotted 1-1.

San Jose started the second period with amazing pressure, keeping Chicago pinned in their defensive zone for more than a minute. The Thornton line created two strong chances, but could not find the second goal.

The clubs exchanged power plays early in the middle period, but neither could connect while up a man.

What appeared to be San Jose’s first lead of the night, turned into a Chicago power play with 12:23 left in the second. Following a Lalime stop on Michalek, Steve Bernier stuffed the puck across the line. However, the ref ruled he had blown the whistle and Bernier was given and unsportsmanlike penalty.

While on the power play, the Blackhawks looked to have their second goal in the books when a rebound came to a wide open Patrick Kane. Nabokov slid over in the nick of time to make one of his biggest highlight stops of the year.

On the following Chicago power play, Nabokov faced a one-on-one showdown with the dangerous Martin Havlat and matched him move-for-move in making the stop. Nabokov and the penalty killers were on fire in the second and when they faced yet another Chicago man advantage, instead of keeping the game even, they took their first lead of the night.

Joe Pavelski created a breakaway opportunity for himself and buried his backhand on Lalime’s blocker side. It had taken almost 35 minutes of action, but San Jose had the lead.

Blackhawks forward Tuomo Ruutu skates with Sharks forward Steve Bernier during the first period on Jan. 22, 2008. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
When it was San Jose’s turn on the power play, they increased the advantage to two. With the power play winding down, Christian Ehrhoff wound up his cannon from the blueline and Lalime had no chance of locating the puck with the massive Thornton parked in front. Lalime displayed his frustration by pushing at Thornton, but it could not mask San Jose’s 3-1 lead.

Team Teal would take the lead to the lockerroom.

During four-on-four time midway through the third, a pinching Jordan Hendry tipped one off the post, but the bounce went the Sharks way. However, just as the ensuing Sharks power play concluded, Chicago pulled within one. On the scenario, Jacob Dowell saucered a pass to Adam Burish who had snuck behind the defense. Burish then ripped the puck top shelf to make the score 3-2.

With the Blackhawks plotting the tying tally, Patrick Rissmiller led a two-on-two rush and forced a penalty. If Chicago was going to tie the game, they would likely have to do it while down a man.

Chicago killed off Havlat's holding penalty and with 15 seconds remaining, had a faceoff in the Sharks zone and the extra attacker on. Rissmiller again factored into the play, this time taking the faceoff to Nabokov's left.

Though Rissmiller lost the key faceoff, he quickly made up for his minor mistake by blocking the point shot, then clearing the fluttering puck out of the Sharks zone with his hand to seal the Sharks 3-2 victory.

LINES
Michalek-Thornton-Cheechoo
Plihal-Marleau-Bernier
Rissmiller-Mitchell-Grier
Roenick-Pavelski-Setoguchi

Murray-Ehrhoff
Carle-Rivet
Ozolinsh-Vlasic

Nabokov-Greiss

NEXT GAME

San Jose will face St. Louis Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. and limited tickets are still available at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The contest will be on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.

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