Veteran forward Jeremy Roenick scored 1:12 into the third period and a collective effort defensively by the Sharks sealed the win for San Jose, who has recorded a point in each of the last 15 games (14-0-1).
San Jose’s starting forward trio of Milan Michalek, Joe Thornton
opened the scoring just 40 seconds into the evening. When Scott Niedermayer broke up a two-on-one, Cheechoo came in and allowed the Sharks to keep possession. Michalek found Thornton open in front of the net and he waited a moment as the defense slid by and pushed the puck into the empty net.
Neither club could capitalize early power plays in the first half of the opening period.
At the midway point of the first, fireworks erupted when Jody Shelley and George Parros lines up opposite each other on a faceoff. It took a few moments into the play, but the two decided to tango to the delight of the crowd. There were a few moments of grappling for position, but Shelley was able to cut the big Ducks fighter before the striped shirts intervened.
|San Jose Sharks center Jeremy Roenick, center, celebrates with teammates Joe Pavelski (8), and Patrick Marleau (12) after he scored a goal against the Anaheim Ducks during the third period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, March 21, 2008. San Jose won 2-1. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar) |
San Jose twice saw pucks just miss late in the first, but drew a penalty that would carry over for 1:34 of the second as Team Teal concluded the first 20 minutes with a 1-0 lead.
Five minutes into the second, Anaheim had tied the battle. Todd Marchant took a cross ice pass and one-timed it in before Nabokov could slide over.
It looked like Anaheim would take the lead 40 seconds later, but when the shot from 10 feet out was fired at Nabokov, he was quick with the save.
As the game neared the halfway point of regulation, San Jose controlling the scoring chances and the shot clock (18-11), but the game remained tied.
San Jose had an excellent chance to pull ahead when simultaneous Ducks penalties presented two complete minutes of five-on-three time, but the puck never found its way across the line.
The shot clock read 26-13 in favor of San Jose, but the game remained tied after 40 minutes.
Early in the third San Jose drew a second five-on-three when Travis Moen cleared the puck over the glass on the kill. This time it took just 17 seconds to find the goal and it was Jeremy Roenick forcing the puck across the line.
|Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller, of Switzerland, grimaces after being hit in the face by the puck on a goal attempt by San Jose Sharks Jonathan Cheecho during the third period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, March 21, 2008. Jonas returned to the game. San Jose won 2-1. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar) |
At the 11:42 mark, Hiller displayed his toughness when a Jonathan Cheechoo slapshot rang off his mask and opened a cut. The Anaheim netminder got off up off the ice, skated to the bench to get the cut covered and returned to action. He received a nice applause from the HP Pavilion crowd.
While Anaheim needed a goal, they were having a problem mustering any offense and hadn’t posted one shot in 17 minutes into the third.
With 2:19 remaining in regulation, Ducks forward Chris Kunitz took a seemingly unprovoked run at Cheechoo, leaving his feet to deliver an elbow/cross-check to Cheechoo's head, well after the Sharks forward had moved the puck.
Though it appeared Kunitz could have been called for charging, elbowing, cross-checking or intent to injure, referees Gord Dwyer and Chris Lee did not penalize the Ducks forward on the play.
Once play resumed following the Cheechoo-Kunitz collision, Anaheim pulled Hiller in lieu of the extra attacker. But that actions were moot as the strong plays on the half-boards by Torrey Mitchell
and Mike Grier sealed the victory for San Jose, 2-1, past the division-rival Ducks. LINES
Nabokov-Boucher NEXT GAME
The Sharks will visit Phoenix on Tuesday in a 7:30 p.m. contest that will be available on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.
From the AP Wire
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -Jeremy Roenick and Joe Thornton scored, and the San Jose Sharks tightened their hold on the Pacific Division lead by holding the Anaheim Ducks without a shot in the third period of a 2-1 victory Friday night.
Evgeni Nabokov earned his NHL-best 43rd victory for the Sharks, whose remarkable third-period defense put them seven points ahead of second-place Anaheim in the three-team race for the Pacific title. After Roenick put San Jose ahead early in the third period, the Ducks never tested Nabokov again.
The Sharks' 14th win in 15 games vaulted them seven points ahead of Anaheim and 10 in front of the third-place Dallas Stars.
Todd Marchant scored and Jonas Hiller made 41 saves for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who finished with just 13 shots - one higher than their franchise-record low. Anaheim had been held without a shot in just one previous period in club history: the first period against Dallas on Dec. 27, 2000.
Both teams entered the game on prolonged winning runs, with Anaheim losing just four times since Feb. 5 and San Jose earning 27 points in its last 14 games.
|Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller, right, of Switzerland, stops a goal attempt by San Jose Sharks Curtis Brown during the third period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, March 21, 2008. San Jose won 2-1. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar) |
San Jose trailed Anaheim and Dallas for most of the season before vaulting into first place with 11 straight wins. Though a division title means little in the postseason, a second-place finish in the overall Western Conference standings would be particularly desirable for any of the three contenders behind Detroit - since the two teams that don't win the title are likely to play each other in the first round.
The Sharks, who outshot the Ducks 43-13, also surmounted a mental block one week before finishing their always-intense season series against Anaheim, which had won five of the clubs' first six meetings this season, including all three trips to the Shark Tank. The Ducks had won six straight overall in San Jose, tying the club record for consecutive road wins against one team.
San Jose got rolling 40 seconds in when Thornton's top line forced a turnover. Milan Michalek made a sharp pass across the crease to Thornton, who sidestepped Scott Niedermayer and backhanded in his 21st goal.
The Ducks evened it early in the second when Chris Kunitz found Marchant across the ice for his ninth goal. The Sharks failed to convert on two minutes of 5-on-3 play late in the period when Todd Bertuzzi and Mathieu Schneider were called for simultaneous penalties.
|San Jose Sharks center Jeremy Roenick, left, scores a goal past Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller, of Switzerland during the third period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, March 21, 2008. San Jose won 2-1. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar) |
San Jose got another 102 seconds of 5-on-3 advantage early in the third when Travis Moen shot the puck into the stands while killing a penalty. Roenick didn't waste it, putting a short shot through Hiller's pads for his 13th goal. Roenick's second in two games was the 508th of his career, passing Jean Beliveau for 36th place in NHL history.
The Sharks usually were in control of the puck during the third period. Anaheim's frustration showed when Kunitz took a cheap-shot hit at Jonathan Cheechoo at mid-ice with 90 seconds to play, but wasn't penalized.
The clubs finish the season series next Friday at Anaheim.
Notes: Cheechoo finished with nine shots. ... Sharks rookie Torrey Mitchell won't be suspended for his collision with Minnesota D Kurtis Foster on Wednesday night. Foster broke his left leg while running into the boards in a race with Mitchell. ... With Chris Pronger sidelined by a suspension, the Shark Tank faithful turned their nonstop displeasure on former San Jose forward Teemu Selanne, booing the Finnish Flash every time he touched the puck. ... The game was briefly delayed midway through the third when Cheechoo's slap shot hit Hiller squarely in the head, dropping the goalie to the ice in pain. Hiller kept playing after getting a bandage on his right temple.