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Cheechoo's trifecta lifts SJ
Sharks draw to within 3 pts of 8th seed
3/13/06 - by Mike Lee

With all the up and down play this season, one thing has remained consistent: San Jose's dominance over the Los Angeles Kings. The Sharks beat the Kings for the ninth straight time at HP Pavilion and for the fifth time in six tries overall this season. Jonathan Cheechoo helped propel the Sharks with his fourth hat trick of the season on a night where it seemed as if anything could happen on the ice. A wild 3rd period included a five goal barrage by the two teams over a five minute stretch, but when the smoke cleared it was San Jose standing on top.

Cheechoo became the second Shark to reach the 40-goal plateau, and trails Owen Nolan's franchise mark by only four goals with 19 games to play. The Sharks sniper was aided by a three assist night from linemate Joe Thornton, who moved into the NHL scoring lead with his 95th point of the season.

Cheechoo was quick to praise his centerman after the contest.

"Joe does a great job drawing double-teams and fighting off guys, and I just pick up the garbage in front," Cheechoo said. "I just always play hard, and if it happens, it happens. ... It's amazing to play with him, and we're making up points against teams ahead of us in the standings."

A lack of discipline almost doomed the Sharks early on, after Los Angeles enjoyed three power play opportunities, including a four-minute double minor to Scott Thornton, who was displeased with Nathan Dempsey's blindside check late in the opening period. Thornton chased Dempsey down, the Kings defenseman turtled drawing an unsportsmanlike and roughing penalty.

The Kings would fail to convert on any of their seven power play chances, but the four minute stand the Sharks made with Thornton in the box may have saved San Jose from allowing the Kings to generate any momentum.

Eric Belanger would stake the Kings to their only lead of the content on a weak attempt that pin balled off of goaltender Vesa Toskala's skate and into the net 54 seconds into the 2nd period.

Cheechoo would answer seven minutes later with a shorthanded goal on a lazy turnover by the Kings in their own zone. Cheechoo would stuff a wraparound attempt between Mathieu Garon's pads to knot the game at 1-1 with the goal.

The 3rd period fireworks would start at the 3:18 mark of the period when Cheechoo backhanded a rebound over a fallen Garon. With several players scrambling for the loose puck just outside the right post, Cheechoo found it and lifted a semi-blind attempt with

his back to the net. Sharks captain Patrick Marleau established a career high with his 29th goal of the season just 25 seconds later when he gained control of the puck inside the Kings blueline, skated around Dempsey, and snapped home the Sharks third goal of the game.

Joe Corvo would cut the Sharks lead to 3-2 with his 14th of the season at the 7:26 mark, but Cheechoo would send the hats sailing with a put back 16 seconds later.

Mike Cammalleri made things interesting with a goal at the 8:11 mark, but the Sharks put the clamps on the Kings over the final 11 minutes of the contest. The Kings best chance to draw even came after Chritian Ehrhoff was sent off with a holding the stick penalty, but Toskala kept the visitors at bay with several saves.

"We've got to find a way to beat them," said Cammalleri. "We can't play hang-on hockey. We've got to go out and take it to them and make plays and be aggressive. If you play hang-on hockey in this league, they're going to beat you."


Scott Parker was suspended by the league for two games on Monday for his participation in an altercation with the visiting Nashville Predators on Saturday afternoon. Parker sat out Monday's game and will miss Thursday's game against St Louis.

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1 2 3 T
LA 0 1 2 3
SJ 0 1 3 4
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, Los Angeles, E.Belanger 15 (Gleason, Miller), 0:54. 2, San Jose, Cheechoo 38 (J.Thornton), 8:10, (sh).
3rd period - 3, San Jose, Cheechoo 39 (J.Thornton, Ekman), 3:18. 4, San Jose, Marleau 29 (Michalek), 3:43. 5, Los Angeles, Corvo 14 (Armstrong, Cammalleri), 7:26. 6, San Jose, Cheechoo 40 (J.Thornton, Hannan), 7:42. 7, Los Angeles, Cammalleri 23 (Armstrong, Brown), 8:
1st period - Bernier, SJS (interference), 8:05; Gorges, SJS (holding), 12:44; S.Thornton, SJS, double minor (roughing, unsportsmanlike conduct), 15:49.
2nd period - Bernier, SJS (high-sticking), 1:27; Gleason, LOS (hooking), 4:28; Nieminen, SJS (hooking), 7:13; Miller, LOS (hooking), 12:47; Norstrom, LOS (delay of game), 13:32.
3rd period - Ehrhoff, SJS (holding-stick), 12:22.
  Shots Saves
LA - Garon 29 25
SJ - Toskala 22 19
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
LA 11 4 7 22
SJ 9 9 11 29
Power Play Conversion
LA 0 of 7
SJ 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Jonathan Cheechoo
Joe Thornton
Mike Cammalleri
Referees: Michael McGeough, Ian Walsh. Linesmen: Lonnie Cameron, Don Henderson.

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