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Sharks snap 2-game skid
Cheechoo regains some of his scoring touch
12/9/06 - by Mike Lee

Jonathan Cheechoo scored two goals and Joe Thornton chipped in three assists to help the Sharks break their two-game losing streak on Saturday night, beating the Nashville Predators 3-1 at HP Pavilion. Evgeni Nabokov stopped 20 of 21 shots to earn his eighth win of the season, also cutting his goals against average to a palty 2.04 goals per game.

It was this time a year ago when Cheechoo was teamed up with Thornton after the blockbuster trade that brought the MVP to San Jose. Cheechoo would go on to win the Rocket Richard Trophy after winning the league goal scoring title.

Cheechoo and Thornton flashed a little of the magic that they enjoyed last season. They conveted on a 2-on-1 break in the opening period, then cashed in on a 5-on-3 power play late in the game.

"It's been a while since I got a shot like that off," Cheechoo said of his first goal. "It's nice to get one of those chances again. They were both great passes. He makes those passes look easy."

Curtis Brown opened the game's scoring by slipping a shot past Chris Mason 4:44 into the game after Cheechoo set him up with a lead pass on the left post. Brown went crashing over the Predators goaltender after the puck crossed the goal line.

Josef Vasicek cut the Sharks lead to 2-1 late in the 2nd period with his 2nd goal of the season.

With a tight game still on the line, Cheechoo would convert late in the 3rd period after Vasicek and Scott Hartnell would draw penalties less than a minute apart. Referee Francois St. Laurent injured his knee and was forced to miss most of the period. His partner Paul Devorski caught both Predators infractions to setup the deciding two-man advantage.

"Cheech worked a lot harder tonight, and it showed," Sharks head coach Ron Wilson said. "If you compete harder in your own end, you'll be rewarded."

"I thought we executed a very good game plan," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "They only had 15 shots with 6 minutes to go. ... We played a solid game, but not good enough to beat the Sharks in their own rink."

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1 2 3 T
NSH 0 1 0 1
SJ 2 0 1 3
1st period - 1, SJ, Brown 5 (Cheechoo, Thornton), 4:44. 2, SJ, Cheechoo 9 (Thornton, Pavelski), 16:37.
2nd period - 3, NSH, Vasicek 2 (Erat, Hartnell), 14:09.
3rd period - 4, SJ, Cheechoo 10 (Thornton, Marleau), 16:29.
1st period - Bench, NSH (too many men), 0:37; Pavelski, SJ (hooking), 14:22; Bench, SJ (too many men), 19:59.
2nd period - Vasicek, NSH (hooking), 2:36; Thornton, SJ (hooking), 10:26; Erat, NSH (holding), 11:11; Hannan, SJ (holding), 14:32.
3rd period - Bernier, SJ (goatender interference), 4:59; Erat, NSH (hooking), 11:35; Vasicak, NSH (hooking), 15:15; Hartnell, NSH (delay of game), 16:13.
  Shots Saves
NSH - Mason 26 23
SJ - Nabokov 21 20
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
NSH 10 5 6 21
SJ 8 5 13 26
Power Play Conversion
NSH 0 of 5
SJ 1 of 6
3 Stars of the Game
Jonathen Cheechoo
Curtis Brown
Evgeni Nabokov
Referees: Paul Devorski, Francois StLaurent. Linesmen: Brad Lazarowich, Thor Nelson.

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