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Dogs roll over in Phoenix
Cheechoo & Thornton combine for 7 points
3/15/07 - by Mike Lee

The Sharks are in the home stretch. The Stanley Cup Playoffs loom on the horizon, so games against cellar dwellers like the Phoenix Coyotes are must win games in March. San Jose took full advantage of the host Coyotes on Thursday night, winning 5-1 at Arena, paced by a two goal performance from Jonathan Cheechoo and a four point night from Joe Thornton.

Evgeni Nabokov also continued his hot hand, limiting the Coyotes to a lone power play goal after the game had all but been decided.

Cheechoo backed out into the slot, where Thornton found him with a pass from the Coyotes end boards. Nick Boynton's soft defense out in front of the Phoenix net allowed Cheechoo to get the shot off, flipping it over Phoenix goaltender Mikael Tellqvist's right shoulder.

Cheechoo picked up his second goal of the night after scavenging a rebound in front of the Coyotes net. Thornton setup the play with a feed from behind the left post. Milan Michalek tried fighting through three Coyote defenders for the puck, but it pin-balled out to the slot where Cheechoo cleaned up with a sweeping backhand that found it's way past Tellqvist.

Bill Guerin added his 4th goal as a Shark on a pretty wrist shot, following a drop pass from Patrick Marleau in the slot. Marleau whipped up the right wing boards before cutting diagonally across the slot and leaving the puck for Guerin, who crossed with Marleau in the slot. The Sharks newest winger snapped a wrist-shot that beat Tellqvist inside the right post.

Travis Roche broke Evgeni Nabokov's shutout bid at 3:48 of the 3rd period on a backdoor play on the power play after Kyle McLaren was sent off for roughing. Former Sharks captain Owen Nolan sent a pass from the left corner cross the top of the crease to Roche, who had cut in along the right post for the easy tap in.

Nolan missed on a golden chance minutes later, after Nabokov fell on a scrum in the crease. Nolan's shot was tipped in the slot, just lifting it over the net. The sharks quickly countered after grabbing the puck. Cheechoo found Thornton up the right win on a 2-on-1 break. Thornton skated in on the right post before backhanding a shot over Tellqvist's left shoulder to push the lead back to 3 goals.

Matt Carle added a power play goal less than 2 minutes later. Thornton added his 3rd assist of the night by sending a pass to Michalek at the top of the crease. The puck deflected off Michalek's stick to the left side of the net, where Carle easily gathered in the deflection and tucked it into the net

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1 2 3 T
SJ 1 2 2 5
PHO 0 0 1 1
1st period - 1, SJ, Cheechoo 24 (Thornton, Michalek), 1:18.
2nd period - 2, SJ, Cheechoo 25 (Michalek, Thornton), 4:10. 3, SJ, Guerin 32 (Marleau, Bell), 7:33
3rd period - 4, PHO, Roche 6 (Nolan, Thomas), 3:48, (pp). 5, SJ, Thornton 18 (Cheechoo, McLaren), 8:09. 6, SJ, Carle 11 (Michalek, Thornton), 9:39
1st period - Reinprecht, PHO (hooking), 4:17.
2nd period - Cheechoo, SJ (holding), 10:51; Zigomanis, PHO (hooking), 14:04; McLaren, SJ (hooking), 16:29.
3rd period - McLaren, SJ (roughing), 2:09; Carcillo, PHO (high sticking), 9:22.
  Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 21 20
PHO - Tellqvist 27 22
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 11 6 10 27
PHO 6 11 4 21
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 3
PHO 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Joe Thornton
Jonathan Cheechoo
Milan Michalek
Referees: Wes McCauley, Rob Shick. Linesmen: Lyle Seitz, Jay Sharrers.

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