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Special teams special in 3-1 win
League's best PP continues to thrive
1/15/07 - by Mike Lee

Special teams carried the Sharks in October and November, so it's no surprise to see the San Jose at their very best when the power play and penalty kill is clicking. The Sharks made the most of five man advantage situations, converting on three for a 3-1 victory, over the visiting Colorado Avalanche at HP Pavilion on Monday night.

Rather than waiting for the other team to initiate the physical play, San Jose teed things up when Ryane Clowe nailed Karlis Skrastins 5 minutes into the game. Ian Laperriere went after Clowe for the hit, but Clowe opted to fight Laperriere, who was assessed a roughing minor on top the fighting major he received.

The resulting power play was key, allowing the Sharks to jump out in front early. Their recent woes were largely attributed to early deficits, but Jonathan Cheechoo put the Sharks ahead 1-0 with his 16th goal of the season on a feed from Patrick Marleau.

The goal extended Cheechoo's scoring streak to seven games. The streak coincides with the 8-0 spanking the Sharks took in Phoenix at the end of December. After that embarrassing defeat, Cheechoo has tallied 11 points.

Marleau scored his own power play goal 2:29 later after Kyle Cumisky was sent of for hooking, by tipping in a Jonathan Cheechoo shot.

Colorado goaltender Peter Budaj kept the Avalanche deficit to two goals by making several highlight reel saves. The Sharks peppered Budaj with 21 shots in the opening period, including 6 from Marleau and 4 from Cheechoo. Marleau tied the team record for shots in a period. Viktor Kozlov holds the team record for shots in a game with 10, set in 1997.

Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov did a Budaj impersonation with a couple of stellar saves in the middle period, including a sliding save on Colorado Rookie Wojtek Wolski. Both goaltenders kept the puck out of the net in the middle period to keep what should have been a big lead by the Sharks closer than San Jose would have preferred.

Colorado finally solved Nabokov on the power play after Mark Smith took an ill-advised holding the stick penalty at the 7:00 mark. Joe Sakic made quick work of the man-advantage, scoring just 3 seconds into the penalty after Paul Stastny won the draw in the Sharks zone. Sakic ripped a shot across the crease from right to left, top shelf.

The momentum Colorado established on Sakic's goal was quickly erased by the Sharks power play less than two minutes later. With Pierre Turgeon in the penalty box for holding, Thornton converted for his 12th goal of the season on setup by defenseman Matt Carle.

Colorado failed to overcome the Sharks special teams onslaught, even though Budaj would stop 38 shots. Nabokov earned his first victory since beatng Calgary 4-1 on December 23rd.

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What did you think of this game? Post your comments on the Feeder Forums
1 2 3 T
COL 0 0 1 1
SJ 2 0 1 3
1st period - 1, SJ, Cheechoo 16 (Marleau, Thornton), 7:03, (pp). 2, SJ, Marleau 21 (Cheechoo, Ehrhoff), 9:32, (pp).
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 3, COL, Sakic 19 (Stastny), 7:03. 4, Thornton 12 (Carle, Marleau), 8:45, (pp).
1st period - Laperriere, COL (roughing), 5:48; Laperriere, COL (fighting major), 5:48; Clowe, SJ (fighting major), 5:48; Cumisky, COL (hooking), 8:28; Svatos, COL (hooking), 18:03.
2nd period - Pavelski, SJ (hooking), 5:41.
3rd period - Stastny, COL (hooking), 1:12; Smith, SJ (holding the stick), 7:00; Turgeon, COL (holding), 7:56.
  Shots Saves
COL - Budaj 42 38
SJ - Nabokov 27 26
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
COL 10 8 9 27
SJ 21 7 14 42
Power Play Conversion
COL 1 of 2
SJ 3 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Patrick Marleau
Peter Budaj
Evgeni Nabokov
Referees: Kelly Sutherland, Don VanMassenhoven. Linesmen: Mike Cvik, Shane Heyer.

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