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Sharks strike early in win
Hawks sputter again in SJ
2/8/06 - by Mike Lee

It wasn't pretty, but after dropping four straight at home the Sharks will take their 2-1 win over the visiting Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night at HP Pavilion. Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton scored a pair of 1st period goals 45 seconds apart, and Vesa Toskala made 29 saves to lead San Jose. The Sharks could have blown this game wide open had it not been for a yeoman's performance by Hawks goaltender Craig Anderson.

Anderson stopped 35 shots to keep Chicago close, but his offense failed to solve Toskala who had to deal with a series of close calls throughout the game.

Steve Bernier setup the game's opening score by fighting off Patrick Sharp behind the net, then drawing the puck out into the crease area with one hand on his stick. After two Hawks defenders converged on Bernier, the puck trickled out into the slot where Marleau was circling. The Sharks captain fired a shot from point blank range, which bounced off Anderson's left pad. With Anderson flat on his back in the crease, Marleau scooped up the rebound and lifted it into the net from outside the right post.

Thornton would build on the Sharks lead on the ensuing sequence by redirecting a Tom Preissing shot from the point. Preissing's shot was headed well wide of the net, but Thornton got a stick blade on it, causing a 45 degree direction change on the puck. Anderson had no chance to react, as the puck squeezed through his pads.

Kyle Calder answered for the Hawks midway through the 2nd period with a highlight reel goal. With Scott Hannan draped all over him, Calder carried the puck through the right circle, before stabbing at it as he skated in on goal from well outside the post. His chip shot fluttered over Toskala's left shoulder and into the net, cutting the Sharks lead to a single goal.

The Sharks dodged a bullet later in the period after Josh Gorges received a double minor for high sticking Mathew Barnaby. Calder killed the four-minute power play by committing a hooking penalty a minute into Gorges' infraction.

Chicago turned up the heat in the final period in hopes of knotting things up, but Toskala was up to the task. The Hawks peppered him with 14 shots in the period, including several from close range. Niko Dimitrakos added to the suspense by taking a lazy hooking penalty with just under five minutes to play.

Hawks head coach Trent Yawny pulled Anderson with 1:45 remaining in regulation, but the Sharks defense buckled down to preserve the win.

Notes:

Things got chippy at the final buzzer when Scott Thornton and Jim VanDermeer squared off in a fight. Thornton landed several shots, including an uppercut that bit VanDermeer. The victory was San Jose's ninth in the last ten meetings with Chicago at HP Pavilion. Hannan was snubbed by Canadian hockey officials on Wednesday, when Jay Bouwmeester was named to replace Scott Neidermayer for the upcoming Olympics.




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Scoring
1 2 3 T
CHI 0 1 0 1
SJ 2 0 0 2
1st period - 1, San Jose, Marleau 23 (Bernier), 17:13. 2, San Jose, Thornton 19 (Cheechoo, Preissing), 17:58.
2nd period - 3, Chicago, Calder 13 (Arnason, Wisniewski), 12:49.
3rd period - None
Penalties
1st period - Cullimore, CHI (hooking), 12:40; Bell, CHI (holding), 19:54.
2nd period - Calder, CHI (high-sticking), 1:31; Bourque, CHI (tripping), 10:23; Gorges, SJS, double minor (high-sticking), 15:27; Calder, CHI (hooking), 16:30.
3rd period - Thornton, SJS (roughing), 6:22; Dimitrakos, SJS (hooking), 15:14; Barnaby, CHI (cross-checking), 20:00; Vandermeer, CHI, major (fighting), 20:00; Thornton, SJS, major (fighting), 20:00.
Goaltending
  Shots Saves
CHI - Anderson 37 35
SJ - Toskala 30 29
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
CHI 5 11 14 30
SJ 16 14 7 37
Power Play Conversion
CHI 0 of 4
SJ 0 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Vesa Toskala
Craig Anderson
Patrick Marleau
Attendence
15,187
Officials
Referees: Rob Martell, Brad Watson. Linesmen: Tim Nowak, Mark Wheler.

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