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New rules shootout nets a win
First win no cake walk for SJ
10/8/05 - by Mike Lee

The outcome was positive, but the events between the opening faceoff and final horn on Saturday night in St Louis, leave the Sharks with plenty to worry about. San Jose's trend of bad penalties and the absence of a penalty kill continue to cause serious problems for a team that was supposed to exploit those things this season. Jonathan Cheechoo capped a wild wide-open goal fest at Savvis Center to help the Sharks pull out a 7-6 come-from-behind win, the team's first of the season.

24 hours after stinking up the United Center in Chicago, the Sharks found a way to dig themselves into another hole, even though they opened the game with two goals, including a penalty shot by captain Patrick Marleau.

"In the beginning of the season, it's always nice to get a win as quick as possible so you can build on it, especially that kind of win," San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov said. "I think our guys deserve a lot of credit."

The Blues scored three 1st period goals, including two power play tallies, which has served as the Sharks Achilles heel so far this season. Christian Backman, Jamal Mayers and Scott Young all beat Evgeni Nabokov in the period to erase the Sharks 2-0 lead.

Peter Cajanek would tally a third power play goal 2:13 into the 2nd period to extend St Louis' lead to 4-2. Niko Dimitrakos would cut the deficit to 4-3 midway through the period by tapping in a deflection after Tom Preissing ripped a shot off the post. The goal would be the first of two goals on the evening for Dimitrakos, the third time in his career that he's tallied multiple goals in a game.

Blues rookie Jeff Hogan gave the Blues a 5-3 lead two minutes later with his first career goal, by deflecting a Backman shot from the top of the right circle. St Louis could have nailed the coffin shut later in the period when Marco Sturm and Scott Hannan were simultaneously called for infractions. The Sharks penalty kill snuffed out the two-man advantage to keep the Blues lead at two goals.

The Sharks would go on the offensive in the 3rd period, scoring four times. Preissing and Dimitrakos would tally goals 27 seconds apart to tie the game at 5-5, but Mayers put the Blues right back on top by bouncing a shot off the back of Nabokov at 7:09 of the period.

Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart would knot things up for the final time almost 6 minutes later with a blast from the high slot. With just under two minutes remaining in regulation, Cheechoo worked his magic by beating Doug Weight behind the Blues net, then snapping a shot past Lalime as he circled back around the left post.

"They kind of left me uncovered to the back door," Cheechoo said. "They were all kind of watching the puck, so I called for it."

The late heroics allowed San Jose to salvage a win on their three game road trip. The loss was the third straight for St Louis.

"When you're up 5-3 going into the third period, you expect to win, regardless of what the rules are," said Blues forward Jamal Mayers, who had two goals. "They won because they worked harder than we did. It's as simple as that."

Sharks head coach Ron Wilson will have four days to prepare his team before their home opener on Wednesday. There are plenty of things to improve on, but Wilson was ready to build on the positives of pulling out a win on the road.

"It was the first kind of adversity we'd faced all year," he said. "In the preseason, we went 7-0, and I don't think we were really trailing anybody.

"For some of the guys, it was an eye-opener. I'm proud that we didn't quit in the third period."

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1 2 3 T
SJ 2 1 4 7
STL 3 2 1 6
1st period - 1, San Jose, Ekman 2 (McCauley, McLaren), 4:30. 2, San Jose, Marleau 2, 7:38. 3, St. Louis, Backman 1 (Weight, Cajanek), 10:10, (pp). 4, St. Louis, Mayers 1, 15:21. 5, St. Louis, Young 1 (Weight, Roach), 18:28, (pp).
2nd period - 6, St. Louis, Cajanek 1 (Young, Roach), 2:13, (pp). 7, San Jose, Dimitrakos 1 (Preissing, Clowe), 12:43. 8, St. Louis, Hoggan 1 (Backman), 14:14.
3rd period - 9, San Jose, Preissing 1 (Marleau, Sturm), 5:11. 10, San Jose, Dimitrakos 2 (Clowe, Stuart), 5:38. 11, St. Louis, Mayers 2 (Drake, Backman), 7:09. 12, San Jose, Stuart 1 (McCauley), 12:59, (pp). 13, San Jose, Cheechoo 1 (Primeau, Fahey), 18:06.
1st period - Johnson, STL (holding), 1:47; McLaren, SJS (delay of game), 10:05; Hannan, SJS (hooking), 17:04; McLaren, SJS (hooking), 17:37
2nd period - Primeau, SJS (hooking), 0:48; Roach, STL (holding), 3:41; Michalek, SJS (slashing), 6:26; Salvador, STL (hooking), 9:00; Nabokov, SJS, served by Joe Thornton (delay of game), 15:19; Sturm, SJS (holding), 17:53; Hannan, SJS (holding stick), 17:53
3rd period - Backman, STL (holding), 11:04
  Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 26 20
STL - Lalime3932
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 20 6 13 39
STL 13 9 4 26
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 4
STL 3 of 8
3 Stars of the Game
Jamal Mayers
Jonathan Cheechoo
Niko Dimitrakos
Referees: Mick McGeough, Brad Meier. Linesmen: Andy McElman, Mark Pare.

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