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Last second stunner
Marleau & Thornton bail out Sharks
1/21/06 - by Mike Lee

Talk about last second heroics. The Sharks weren't content with one last second goal, so they did it twice -- once in regulation and then again in overtime. San Jose's turned to their leaders, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, to help bail out of a would-be loss to the Angeles Kings in Southern California on Saturday night.

After falling behind to the Kings in the 3rd period, Thornton scored the equalizer with 29 seconds left in regulation. Marleau then converted with 8.9 seconds left in overtime to help the Sharks win one of their most entertaining game of the season. Beating a division foe also added to the drama, as the Sharks continue to work on catching the Kings and a playoff seeding.

Thornton setup Marleau for the game winner with a pass to the Sharks captain in the slot. Marleau took Thornton's feed and lifted it over Kings goaltender Mathieu Garon's right shoulder. San Jose had the benefit of skating with a man advantage in the extra-period after Dustin Brown was whistled for hooking Nils Ekman.

"I tried to stick with it, I had three chances before I finally hit the back of the net," said Marleau, who smacked the post with a shot earlier in the power play.

The win, San Jose's third in four tries against the Kings this season, took a little work after Los Angeles jumped on Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov for two goals early in the 1st period.

"Down 2-0 early, we fought our way back, down 3-2 with a minute to go we came back," said Thornton, who extended a point streak to five games. "This is a good character team here and we love to play together."

Jeff Cowan gave Los Angeles a 1-0 lead just 2:48 into the game on a thread-the-needle pass from Luc Robitaille. Cowan cut to the net and redirected the puck from the right post after Robitaille fired it between Doug Murray's skates from the left wing boards.

The Kings upped their lead to 2-0 after George Parros chipped in a rebound 29 seconds later.

Sharks head coach Ron Wilson tweaked his power play unit, on Friday and the move paid huge dividends. San Jose would score two power-play goals to close out the period, erasing the early momentum that Los Angeles had established.

Grant Stevenson redirected a blast from Marleau at 9:42, then Jonthan Cheechoo bagged his 26th of the season on a put back in front of the Kings goal.

"We gave up three power-play goals, you can't have that many penalties against a team with such a good power play," Garon said.

The Sharks avoided disaster early in the 3rd period by killing a 5-on-3 power play, but the Kings would get on the scoreboard minutes later. Los Angeles regained the lead at 12:25 of the 3rd period after Joe Corvo rifled a shot past Nabokov from the top of the left circle.

Corvo would factor into the Sharks goal at the end of the period. After Wilson pulled Nabokov for an extra skater in the final minute, Corvo iced the puck rather than trying to move it and kill some of the clock. On the ensuing faceoff, a pinballing puck found it's way to Marleau who tried to slip it down low. Stevenson grabbed the pass on the Kings doorstep, but opted to slide a second pass over to Thornton on the opposite post, because Garon had the left half of the goal covered.

"Our team worked hard, we are thoroughly disappointed we didn't get the two points that was there for us," Kings coach Andy Murray said. "That's two games here at home that we've lost the game in the last seconds to the Sharks."

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1 2 3 OT T
SJ 2 0 1 1 4
LA 2 0 1 0 3
1st period - 1, Los Angeles, Cowan 7 (Robitaille), 2:48. 2, Los Angeles, Parros 2 (Corvo, Ryan), 3:17. 3, San Jose, Stevenson 9 (Marleau, Preissing), 9:42, (pp). 4, San Jose, Cheechoo 26 (Smith, Hannan), 18:38, (pp).
2nd period - None
3rd period - 5, Los Angeles, Corvo 10 (Dempsey, Brown), 12:25, (pp). 6, San Jose, J.Thornton 17 (Stevenson, Marleau), 19:31.
Overtime - 7, San Jose, Marleau 19 (J.Thornton, Stevenson), 4:51, (pp).
1st period - Conroy, LOS (hooking), 0:22; Ekman, SJS (high-sticking), 0:26; Robitaille, LOS (cross-checking), 9:34; Cowan, LOS (goaltender interference), 16:57.
2nd period - Visnovsky, LOS (interference), 15:26; Dempsey, LOS (hooking), 16:51.
3rd period - Smith, SJS (interference), 5:02; Ekman, SJS (hooking), 5:29; Cheechoo, SJS (holding), 10:31; Giuliano, LOS (hooking), 13:14; Giuliano, LOS (hooking), 15:29.
Overtime - Brown, LOS (hooking), 2:59.
  Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 18 15
LA - Garon 33 29
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
SJ 8 8 14 3 33
LA 5 4 9 0 18
Power Play Conversion
SJ 3 of 8
LA 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Patrick Marleau
Joe Thornton
Joe Corvo
Referees: Michael McGeough, Brad Meier. Linesmen: Don Henderson, Vaughan Rody.

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