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Toskala gets offensive
2 assists help SJ jump Hawks
2/3/07 - by Mike Lee

If the Sharks skaters aren't going to kick start the offense, it may as well be the goaltenders. That's exactly what netminder Vesa Toskala did on Saturday afternoon at HP Pavilion, initiating play on the first two Sharks goals en route to a 4-2 win over the visiting Chicago Blackhawks. Toskala became the first Sharks to register two assists in a game.

The Sharks special teams play also took a less obvious approach to scoring goals, by doing it short-handed. San Jose's power play is mired in a 1-for-38 slump, which included another 6 failed attempts on Saturday.

Marcel Goc took the contrarian's approach to special team scoring by punching in a short-handed goal just under two minutes into the game after former Blackhawk Mark Bell was sent off for interference. Patrick Rissmiller setup the unusual goal by dumping the puck into the Chicago zone then beating Cam Barker to the puck behind the Blackhawks goal.

Rissmiller then fed Goc with a centering pass into the slot, but the puck was redirected Troy Brouwer across the slot. Cutting from left to right, Goc skated right into Brouwer's deflection for the easy deposit into the Chicago net.

Tuomo Ruutu would tie the game 7 minutes later on a blast that squeezed between Toskala and the left post. Toskala appeared to be in good position to cutoff Ruutu's shot, but it found enough unprotected space to get the puck past Toskala.

The Sharks headed into the 1st intermission up 2-1 after Curtis Brown scored a goal with just over a minute to play in the period. Toskala would

Ruutu would setup Martin Havlat midway through the 2nd period to knot the game up again, but Patrick Marleau would answer three minutes later with his team leading 27th goal of the season.

The Sharks coasted after Milan Michalek padded the Sharks lead with 8 minutes to play in regulation. Jonathan Cheechoo chipped the puck up to a streaking Michalek, who beat Nikolai Khabibulin unencumbered.

San Jose stayed out of penalty trouble, committing only two minor penalties during the contest. Chicago on the other hand served up 6 chances for the Sharks to shake out of their power play doldrums, but San Jose would fail to convert on any of the chances.

Notes:

Scott Parker returned to the lineup after spending two months on the injured reserve with a bum ankle. Parker made is presence felt early, when he rubbed out Havlat with a jarring open ice check between the bluelines.

Mark Smith took Parker's place on the injured reserve after injuring his groin in the Sharks 4-2 loss to the Dallas Stars on Thursday. Evgeni Nabokov also tweaked his groin, and was placed on the injured reserve as well. Nolan Schaefer served as Toskala's backup.



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Scoring
1 2 3 T
CHI 1 1 0 2
SJ 2 1 1 4
1st period - 1, SJ, Goc 5 (Rissmiller, Toskala), 1:54, (sh). 2, CHI, Ruutu 12 (Sharp, Wisniewski), 9:02. 3, SJ, Brown 7 (Hannan, Toskala), 18:42.
2nd period - 4, CHI, Havlat 17 (Ruutu, Smolinski), 11:14. 5, SJ, Marleau 27 (Clowe, Thornton), 14:51
3rd period - 6, SJ, Michalek 14 (Cheechoo), 11:54.
 
Penalties
1st period - Bell, SJ (interference), 0:38; Sharp, CHI (holding), 5:44; Keith, CHI (interference), 12:56.
2nd period - Aucoin, CHI (high sticking), 2:14; Clowe, SJ (high sticking), 3:07; Wisniewski, CHI (holding), 17:32.
3rd period - Seabrook, CHI (holding the stick), 3:56; Salmelainen, CHI (hooking), 13:53.
Goaltending
  Shots Saves
CHI - Khabibulin 31 27
SJ - Toskala 20 18
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
CHI 6 9 7 20
SJ 13 12 6 31
Power Play Conversion
CHI 0 of 2
SJ 0 of 6
3 Stars of the Game
Patrick Marleau
Tuomo Ruutu
Vesa Toskala
Attendence
17,496
Officials
Referees: Bill McCreary, Mike Leggo. Linesmen: Mike Cvik, Vaughan Rody.

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