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Homecooking pays dividends
Sharks take advantage of struggling Blue Jackets
2/23/04 - by Mike Lee

Playing in their first home game in almost three weeks, the Sharks took advantage of a road weary Columbus Blue Jackets team with a 4-2 victory at HP Pavilion on Monday night. Jonathan Cheechoo scored two goals for the Sharks, including a penalty shot early in the 3rd period to help extend the Sharks lead in the Pacific back to six points. First games home after long road trips have been historically difficult for the Sharks, but they pounced on a beaten team that is playing out the season.

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1 2 3 T
CBJ 1 0 1 2
SJ 2 0 2 4
1st period - CBJ, KLESLA (1) (MCDONELL, LACHANCE), 02:58 S.J, MCCAULEY (15) (EKMAN, HANNAN), 04:56 S.J, STURM (18) (EHRHOFF, STUART), 19:20
2nd period - NONE
3rd period - S.J, CHEECHOO (16) , 00:32 CBJ, ERIKSSON (4) (WRIGHT, MALHOTRA), 10:10 S.J, CHEECHOO (16) (RICCI, THORNTON), 16:42
1st period - CBJ, SVITOV, 07:21 - Tripping CBJ, MARCHANT, 09:33 - Hi stick S.J, STURM, 13:21 - Tripping CBJ, ZHERDEV, 18:27 - Tripping S.J, THORNTON, 19:43 - Hi stick
2nd period - CBJ, SHELLEY, 02:57 - Fighting (maj) S.J, PARKER, 02:57 - Fighting (maj) CBJ, SPACEK, 08:15 - Holding stick
3rd period - S.J, HANNAN, 04:09 - Hi stick CBJ, NASH, 19:28 - Interference
  Shots Saves
CBJ - Leclaire 38 34
SJ - Nabokov 26 24
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
CBJ 9 7 10 26
SJ 10 17 11 38
Power Play Conversion
CBJ 0 of 3
SJ 1 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Jonathan Cheechoo
Pascal Leclaire
Marco Sturm
One silver lining for the Blue Jackets was the play of rookie goaltender Pascal Laclaire, who stopped 34 shots, including all 17 that he faced in the 2nd period. The Sharks threw everything they had at Leclaire in the period, but he weathered the store, keeping his team close.

Columbus actually drew first blood just three minutes into the contest when Rotislav Klesla threw a backhanded shot from the right wing boards past an off balance Evgeni Nabokov. The Sharks goaltender seemed caught off guard by the shot, allowing it to slip under his pads, without even making an attempt to stop the shot.

Alyn McCauley knotted things up two minutes later when he tapped a pass from Nils Ekman past Leclaire.

Marco Sturm would give the Sharks the lead for good by scoring on the power play with forty seconds remaining in the opening frame. Sturm backhanded his own rebound past Leclaire from in tight after driving to the net and trying to stuff a Christian Ehrhoff pass past Leclaire.

After their fruitless attempt at bombarding Leclaire shots in the 2nd period, Cheechoo tried generating some offense immediately after the puck was dropped to open the 3rd period. Cheechoo got a step on the Blue Jackets defense and tried carrying a break away attempt in, but he was hauled down by Anders Eriksson in the slot. Cheechoo would deposit the penalty shot in the back of the net after he forced Leclaire to commit to a shimmy move before backhanding the shot inside the left post.

Eriksson would atone for his gift to the Sharks with his won goal midway through the period, but Cheechoo would ice the game with a shot from the slot at 16:42.

Play of the Game
There's not a lot that tops a penalty shot in hockey and Cheechoo's first career penalty shot was no exception. Cheechoo learned from Alex Korolyuk's penalty shot chance versus Florida back on February 3rd. Back then Korolyuk was winded from a long shift at the end of the game. Cheechoo took his time conversing with the officials while he tried to catch his breath. The rest paid dividends.

The Turning Point
San Jose's inability to score in the 2nd period opened the door for Columbus even though the Sharks thoroughly dominated the period. The Sharks seemed frustrated even though they forced several icing calls because the Blue Jackets couldn't get the puck out of their own zone.

Save of the Game
Leclaire made a beautiful cross-ice play after McCauley took a pass through the slot and ripped a shot from 15 feet out. Leclaire read the play and made a nice adjustment to cut of McCauley's angle from outside the left post.

Box Scores Do No Justice
Scott Parker and Jody Shelley danced early in the 2nd period for what seemed like an eternity. Parker had the upper hand after he grabbed Shelley's right arm. The Sharks enforcer started things off by landing several quick jabs with his left hand, then came over the top with a few right that found their mark.

Honorable Mention
Parker didn't score a knockout against Shelley, but he did send Klesla to the locker room after chcking him hard into the end boards behind the Sharks net in the 2nd period. Columbus reported Klesla's injury as a wrist sprain after the game.

"I wanted to freeze him, and the ice was good, so I could make the move I wanted. I knew he might not be expecting that, and everything worked out the way I thought it would. I don't get too many of those in my life, so that was great." - Jonathan Cheechoo

"He made a nice move. I thought he was going to go top-shelf. That's what he always does in practice. ... We're loose; we're having fun. That's why it's going like it is for us." - Marco Sturm

"These games I can use for experience. I can take the experience and use it for learning. This was good for me. ... For about 10 minutes, I felt a little numb out there, but after that I started to see the puck real well." - Pascal Leclaire

Kyle McLaren played in his 500th career NHL game.

Ehrhoff was recalled earlier in the day from Cleveland after being optioned to the Barons four days earlier. Jim Fahey was returned to Cleveland to make room for Ehrhoff.

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