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McLellan era begins with a win
New power play nets two goals
10/9/08 - By Mike Lee

New Sharks head coach Todd McLellan had a coming out party in San Jose on Thursday night, and he introduced himself to Bay Area hockey fans with a heaping helping of roast duck. McLellan's debut was so perfect, it almost appeared scripted, as the host Sharks kicked off the 2008-09 NHL campaign with a 4-1 drubbing of the visiting Anaheim Ducks at HP Pavilion.

Jonathan Cheechoo scored the first two goal of the season to pace the Sharks, who also unveiled a re-tooled blueline that contributed heavily in the victory. Defensemen Rob Blake had two assists on the evening and 7 shots on goal and Dan Boyle added an assist and logged 25:18 of ice time to lead the Sharks.

Both teams used the opening period to dust off the cob webs and get back into game mode after a month of preseason play. Tentative and cautious best describe the way both teams played in the first 20 minutes of play. A Lukas Kaspar high sticking penalty with 3:42 remaining in the period gave the Ducks a chance to break the ice, but they couldn't capitalize even though they threw 4 shots on Sharks netminder Evgeni Nabokov.

With the jitters behind them, San Jose went to work in the 2nd period.

Devin Setoguchi started to tilt the ice when he navigated through two Duck defenders with a nifty move early in the period. Setoguchi didn't score, but it was a preview of things to come.

The Sharks would break through on the scoring sheet at 2:32 of the period, when Boyle put a shot on goal fro the right point that Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere failed to control. Parked on the Ducks doorstep, Cheechoo swept the rebound around Giguere's left pad for the 1st goal of the season.

"You've got a find a way to get it through," said Boyle. You get rebound goals. You might not be the one getting a goal, but if you get it through, someone else will."

After Teemu Selanne was sent off for hooking at 4:40 of the period, Ducks defenseman Scott Neidermayer got a stick up to high, and earned a trip to the box. The Sharks only had 21 seconds of two-man advantage time, but they used it effectively.

The Sharks new power play moved quickly, generating a shot on goal from Blake that was deflected, but ended up on Joe Thornton's stick behind the Ducks goal. With a dish from the end boards, Cheechoo converted on 15-foot one-timer that found the upper left-hand corner of the net.

San Jose smelled blood and turned up the heat. A wild series would result in another ducks penalty at 7:53 when George Parros hauled down Ryane Clowe in the slot. The ensuing power play didn't net a goal for the Sharks, but it gave the sellout crowd a glimpse of the new up-tempo style of play that McLellan is trying to implement.

Consistent pressure in the Anaheim zone would result in two more power play opportunities in the period, which allowed the Sharks to outshoot the Ducks 21 to 3 in the frame.

"It takes three periods to play the hockey game and we weren't very good after the first period," said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. "For whatever reason we started turning the puck over… something like ten times in the first five minutes of the second period."

A Steve Montador holding penalty to open the 3rd period would setup another power play goal to push the Sharks lead to 3-0 early in the 3rd period. Christian Ehrhoff blasted a shot from the point, beating a screened Giguere.

Ryane Clowe would just miss on a shot from the right circle moments later, ringing the puck off the left post. Setoguchi would follow that up by setting captain Patrick Marleau up with a blind backhand pass from the right corner boards that ended with a scoring chance in tight.

Some careless passing midway through the period almost cost the Sharks. Selanne had Nabokov dead to rights with the puck on the Sharks doorstep, but a deft poke check by the netminder disrupted Selanne long enough for the defense to get back and stall the chance.

"One shift Teemu had and opportunity and Brad May right after it," said Blake. "But when you have a Nabokov in net to shut that down, it calms the whole bench down."

Anaheim would finally solve Nabokov at 14:35 of the period when Rob Neidermayer deflected a shot from Montador in the slot.

Setoguchi would be rewarded for his strong game with a goal with 4:03 to play. Racing up the ice on an odd-man rush, Marleau tried centering a feed to his left, but Montador broke up the pass. Setoguchi put on the breaks in the slot and whipped a back-hand shot that clipped Giguere in the skate and into the goal.

"It seems like they got another gear going and we stood around and watched and started to play the game from our own back end," said Carlyle. "Then they started coming at us in waves and we started taking penalties."

Game Notes:

San Jose would outshoot Anaheim 41-29. Jeremy Roenick received the loudest cheers of the night during player intros during pre-game festivities, which also featured the unveiling of the Sharks 2007-08 Pacific Division Championship banner.


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1 2 3 T
ANA 0 0 1 1
SJ 0 2 2 4
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1. SJ, Cheechoo 1 (Boyle, Michalek), 2:32. 2, SJ, Cheechoo 2 (Thornton, Blake), 6:44, (pp).
3rd period - 3, SJ, Ehrhoff 1 (Michalek, Setoguchi), 2:52, (pp). 4, ANA, R. Neidermayer 1 (Montador, Pronger), 14:35, (pp). 5, SJ, Setoguchi 1 (Marleau, Blake), 15:57.
1st period - Kaspar, SJ (high sticking), 16:18.
2nd period - Selanne, ANA (hooking), 4:40; S. Neidermayer, ANA (high sticking), 6:19; Parros, ANA (tripping), 7:53; Ehrhoff, SJ (hooking), 10:39; Montador, ANA (hooking), 14:56; Huskins, ANA (tripping), 17:50.
3rd period - Montador, ANA (holding), 1:14; Getzlaf, ANA (slashing), 7:57.
Shots Saves
ANA - Giguere 41 37
SJ - Nabokov 29 28
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
ANA 10 3 16 29
SJ 8 21 12 41
Power Play Conversion
ANA 0 of 2
SJ 2 of 7
3 Stars of the Game
Jonathan Cheechoo
Rob Blake
Devin Setoguchi
Referees: Meier, Kowal. Linesmen: Galloway, Henderson.

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