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Sharks move into 8th seed
Preissing bags OT winner
3/26/06 - by Mike Lee

Playing on less than 24 hours rest following their 5-1 win in Minnesota on Saturday, the Sharks had every reason to fall victim to fatigue. They didn't use that as an excuse in their 5-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night at the United Center, but they took the extended path to the victory. After allowing the Hawks to tie the game with a 72 seconds left in regulation, San Jose converted on an overtime power play, with a Tom Preissing goal 1:24 into the extra frame.

Preissing snapped a shot from the high slot, after Joe Thornton slid a pass over from the right wing boards. San Jose had a man advantage in the extra frame after Jim Vandermeer was whistled for holding with 26 ticks left in regulation. Patrick Marleau wound the puck around the end boards to Thornton on a delayed penalty to Chicago, before Preissing whistled his shot pat Ninkolai Khabibulin.

"When Joe got the puck I was screaming at him pretty loud and obviously Joe Thornton knows how to find guys," Preissing said. "He's fun to play with and watch out there. He knows where you want the puck and he gets it there. Basically I did the easy part. He did all the work."

Just a point out of the Western Conference basement, Chicago has little to play for other than pride as the regular season winds down, and the league's worst power play seemed like easy fodder for the Sharks even though the Hawks last played on Friday night. Contrary to all of those positive indicators, Hawks head coach Trent Yawney still has his team playing high intensity hockey.

The Hawks would hold two leads and managed their late goal to tie the game thanks to Radim Vrbata, who had two goals and two assists on the night. After Patrick Rissmiller gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead three minutes into the contest, Vrbata tied things 37 seconds later.

Vrbata would help setup Mikael Homqvist's 10th goal of the season later in the period to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead. Holmqvist would convert on one of four Chicago power play chances after Sharks defenseman Rob Davison was issued a double minor for high-sticking Curtis Brown.

Steve Bernier would tie things at 2-2 with just under four-minutes remaining in the period by poking a rebound past Khabibulin.

Vrbata would strike again at 6:50 of the 2nd period to help Chicago reclaim the lead. Thornton would setup Nils Ekman with two minutes left in the period to send both teams to the locker room tied at 3-3.

Mark Smith would help San Jose claim the lead for the first time at 7:33 of the 3rd period on a gritty effort in front of the Chicago net. The feisty Sharks checking line center carried a puck behind the Hawks goal and wound around the front before bouncing a shot off Khabibulin's pad from a severe angle outside the right post.

With time ticking down, the Sharks looked as if they would lock up the win in regulation, but Scott Hannan would inadvertently fire a clearing attempt over the glass, drawing an ill advised delay of game penalty with 2:04 left in regulation.

Yawney pulled Khabibulin with just over a minute left in the game to give the Hawks a two man advantage and the move would pay dividends when Kylse Calder stuffed a rebound past Vesa Toskala for the equalizer.

Vendermeer would bail the Sharks out with his own bone-headed penalty, which setup the 4-on-3 situation that enabled Preissing to end the game.

"We talk about decisions. He made a bad decision at the blue line to put himself in that position," Yawney said.


The Sharks sit in the 8th playoff spot after their win. Edmonton beat Colorado in a shootout to hopscotch over the Sharks back into the 7th seed.

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1 2 3 OT T
SJ 2 1 1 1 5
CHI 2 1 1 0 4
1st period - 1, San Jose, Rissmiller 2 (Goc, Smith), 3:02. 2, Chicago, Vrbata 10 (Cullen, Seabrook), 3:39. 3, Chicago, Holmqvist 10 (Bell, Vrbata), 14:29, (pp). 4, San Jose, Bernier 9 (Cheechoo, J.Thornton), 16:4
2nd period - 5, Chicago, Vrbata 11 (Cullen, Wisniewski), 6:50. 6, San Jose, Ekman 17 (J.Thornton, Preissing), 18:06.
3rd period - 7, San Jose, Smith 9 (Nieminen, Davison), 7:33. 8, Chicago, Calder 19 (Vrbata, Holmqvist), 18:48, (pp).
Overtime - 9, San Jose, Preissing 11 (J.Thornton, Marleau), 1:24, (pp).
1st period - Davison, SJS double minor (high sticking), 13:32.
2nd period - Ehrhoff, SJS (interference), 1:58; Seabrook, CHI, double minor (high sticking), 19:51
3rd period - Hannan, SJS (delay of game), 17:56; Vandermeer, CHI (holding), 19:34
Overtime - None.
  Shots Saves
SJ - Toskala 34 30
CHI - Khabibulin 35 30
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
SJ 16 11 6 2 35
CHI 6 15 12 1 34
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 3
CHI 2 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Radim Vrbata
Joe Thornton
Tom Preissing
Referees: Blaine Angus, Bill McCreary. Linesmen: Brad Kovachik, Jean Morin.

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