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Offense opens up down south
Marleau and Cheechoo combine for 5 goals
11/9/06 - by Mike Lee

Allowing the opposition to lead off each period with a goal isn't the best way to win hockey games, but putting seven pucks past the opposing goaltender is a good way to live with those types of defensive lapses. The Los Angeles Kings would land the opening salvo in each of the three periods on Thursday night, but the Sharks would counter with a flurry of goals en route to a 7-3 win at the Staples Center.

Sharks captain Patrick Marleau single handedly matched the Kings offense with his second career regular season hat trick and Jonathan Cheechoo added a pair of goals to pace the Sharks. Milan Michalek and Patrick Rissmiller added three assists apiece in a white washing.

"Milan's been pretty much our most consistent player, and he made some great plays," Sharks head coach Ron Wilson said. "Bernie was crashing the net, which is what he's supposed to do. That was probably Patrick Rissmiller's best game since Holy Cross. He was unbelievable. It's good to see guys like that get rewarded with points."

After Brian Wilsie staked Los Angeles to a 1-0 lead in the 1st period, the Sharks responded with four straight goals in a 5:14 span. Marleau converted on one of two Sharks power plays on the evening, chipping in a Christian Ehrhoff rebound at 11:25.

Steve Bernier followed up Marleau's goal with a backhand shot that beat Mathieu Garon at 14:00. Kings right winger Tim Jackman tried to energize his teammates by dropping the gloves with Ryan Clowe on the ensuing faceoff, but his choice in dance partners proved poor. Clowe landed several shots, providing more incentive to the Sharks bench to step up their game.

Clowe's teammates built on that energy two minutes later.

Christian Ehrhoff and Cheechoo would cap the periods scoring with goals 16 seconds apart. Cheechoo's goal came on a sweet dish by Rissmiller who stormed up the ice on a partial breakaway before sliding the puck across the slot to his linemate on the off wing. Even with the wheels falling off, Kings head coach Marc Crawford elected to stay with Garon who stopped only 9 of 13 shots in the period.

"A lot of things went wrong," Kings defenseman Rob Blake said. "We've just got to be better. It's plain and simple. You've got to work harder and you've got to play better as a team."

Alexander Frolov converted on a power play just 3:38 into the 2nd period after Mike Grier was whistled for a phantom interference penalty behind the Kings net. Frolov wrested a shot past Vesa Toskala to cut the Sharks lead in half.

Marleau quickly put any idea of a Kings comeback to bed by scoring two more goals to close out the period. His second goal was like shooting fish in a barrel, pumping home a loose puck after Garon was pinned to the ice by one of his own teammates. Marleau would add an unassisted tally with just under two minutes to play in the period.

"I was fortunate to be on the end of a few good bounces and a couple of great passes," Marleau said. "It's good when things are going like that, especially against a division team. We got ourselves going on that first power play and kept rolling from there."

Sean Avery beat Toskala with a 30-foot slapper from the left circle, but Cheechoo would answer midway through the period with a dribbler through Mattias Norstrom's skates. The goal was Cheechoo's 100th career tally.

"It's a division game and everybody gets up for those," said Cheechoo. "These games are a lot of fun to play."

Notes:

Wilson became a grandfather in the wee hours of the morning on Thursday when his daughter gave birth to a baby girl…Blake was honored before the game for playing in his 1000th career NHL game on November 4th.


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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 4 2 1 7
LA 1 1 1 3
1st period - 1, LA, Willsie 2 (Thornton, Kostopoulos), 8:48. 2, SJ, Marleau 8 (Bernier, Michalek), 11:25, (pp). 3, SJ, Bernier 4 (Michalek), 14:00. 4, SJ, Ehrhoff 5 (Rissmiller), 16:23. 5, SJ, Cheechoo 6 (Rissmiller, Goc), 16:39.
2nd period - 6, LA, Frolov 6 (Dallman, Avery), 3:38, (pp). 7, SJ, Marleau 9 (Michalek, Vlassic), 10:15. 8, SJ, Marleau 10 (unassisted), 18:01.
3rd period - 9, LA, Avery 5 (Visnovsky, Kostopoulos), 3:30. 10, SJ, Cheechoo 7 (Hannan, Rissmiller), 10:45.
 
Penalties
1st period - McLaren, SJ (interference), 6:30; Garon, LA (tripping), 10:16; Clowe, SJ (fighting major), 14:02; Jackman, LA (fighting major), 14:02.
2nd period - Grier, SJ (interference), 1:54; Michalek, SJ (holding), 6:29.
3rd period - Blake, LA (interference), 17:21.
Goaltending
  Shots Saves
SJ - Toskala 38 35
LA - Garon 26 19
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 13 5 8 26
LA 11 13 14 38
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 2
LA 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Patrick Marleau
Milan Michalek
Patrick Rissmiller
Attendence
16,618
Officials
Referees: Mike Hasenfratz, Michael McGeough. Linesmen: Scott Driscoll, Jonny Murray.

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