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Kings get steam-rolled
More breathing room after 5-0 win
4/6/06 - by Mike Lee

Jonathan Cheechoo would provide all the offense the Sharks would need on Thursday night with his 1st period goal three minutes into the game. The Sharks made sure Cheechoo's goal would stand up by adding four more en route to a 5-0 pasting of the host Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center. Having won in Colorado 24 hours earlier, the Sharks looked as if they could play another three or four periods, energized by the successes that they've enjoyed this week.

San Jose will enjoy a short break before running the gauntlet next week with five games in seven days, starting with a one game home-stand against the Dallas Stars on Sunday. The win Thursday night helped separate the Sharks from the Kings, who trailed San Jose by two points before the two teams tangled.

"Obviously you want to make the playoffs as a first priority, but along the way you want to finish as high as you can," Sharks head coach Ron Wilson said. "This road trip gives us a lot of confidence, because they were all tough games."

The Kings put up a fight for a period and a half, then seemingly packed in their season with a lack luster performance. Los Angeles only mustered three shots on goal in the opening period, but they at least skated with some intensity. That was long gone by the time the Sharks took control in the 3rd period.

After scoring his 47th goal to open the game, Cheechoo teamed up with linemate Joe Thornton for a back breaker with 8 ticks remaining in the 2nd period. The Sharks repelled a rush by the Kings late in the period, but iced the puck as the clock inched its way to expiration.

With the face off in the Kings zone, Thornton won the draw then stick-handled toward the L.A. net. As Mathieu Garon moved to cover the left side of the net, Thornton calmly slid a pass over to Cheechoo on the off wing for the easy goal.

Scott Thornton and cousin Joe would score goals just over a minute apart midway through the third for a little icing on the cake. Cheechoo almost bagged a hat trick on Joe Thornton's goal, but Garon made the initial stop. The rebound floated toward the slot, where Thornton was skating, hitting the centerman in the stick and bouncing in to the goal.

"It seems as though the Kings thought we would come out slow tonight, we had a 60-minute, good effort from everyone and they underestimated how we'd come out," said Joe Thornton, who also improved his league-leading assist total to 83 with a pair.

Garon smashed his stick over the crossbar in disgust after the play, an understandable move given his teammates lack of intensity over the final 20 minutes of play.

Steve Bernier would add the capper with just under three minutes remaining in regulation to drive the final nail into the Kings coffin.

"We made too many mistakes, it was everybody," said Kings forward Pavol Demitra, who was held without a shot. "We look like we are so nervous, like we don't want to play."

Vesa Toskala faced only 14 shots on the evening to earn one of the easiest shutouts in his career.

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1 2 3 T
SJ 1 1 3 5
LA 0 0 0 0
1st period - 1, San Jose, Cheechoo 47, 3:26.
2nd period - 2, San Jose, Cheechoo 48 (Thornton), 19:51.
3rd period - 3, San Jose, Thornton 10 (McCauley, Nieminen), 9:40. 4, San Jose, Thornton 28 (Cheechoo, Carle), 10:42, (pp). 5, San Jose, Bernier 12 (Marleau, Thornton), 17:21, (pp).
1st period - Penalties - Cheechoo, SJS (interference), 13:35.
2nd period - Corvo, LOS (holding), 4:20; Frolov, LOS (hooking), 7:14; Gorges, SJS (holding), 16:29.
3rd period - McCauley, SJS (hooking), 4:31; Brown, LOS (tripping), 5:51; Sopel, LOS (hooking), 7:32; Corvo, LOS (hooking), 9:54; Ehrhoff, SJS (delay of game), 11:05; Rissmiller, SJS (boarding), 15:04; Demitra, LOS (holding), 15:50; Conroy, LOS (holding), 16:30.
  Shots Saves
SJ - Toskala 14 14
LA - Garon 34 29
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 13 8 13 34
LA 3 8 3 14
Power Play Conversion
SJ 2 of 7
COL 0 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Jonathan Cheechoo
Joe Thornton
Vesa Toskala
Referees: Mike Leggo, Michael McGeough. Linesmen: Andy McElman, Mark Wheler.

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