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Brown scores in overtime to lead Sharks past Blues

Oct 6, 2006 - 5:59 AM SAN JOSE, California (Ticker) -- Curtis Brown would not let his new teammates get down on themselves.

Brown scored in overtime, Milan Michalek tallied twice and reigning Hart Trophy winner Joe Thornton had three assists as the San Jose Sharks posted a 5-4 victory over the St. Louis Blues in the season opener for both teams.

Returning to San Jose after playing with the Chicago Blackhawks last season, Brown scored at 2:12 of the extra session to give the Sharks just their third victory in 15 season-opening contests.

"I hope you aren't waiting around for that kind of finish every night," Brown said. "I think it's great to come back and be part of a great organization with great guys. We don't care who chips in. Everybody (is) going to have to chip in all year and help out."

Steve Bernier set up the winning play from behind the net, finding rookie defenseman Matt Carle, whose shot from the left faceoff circle was stopped by goaltender Manny Legace. However, Brown knocked in the rebound to clinch the victory.

"I chased (the puck) and was able to put some pressure on it," Brown said. "They threw it behind the net and (Bernier) got in there pretty quick and fed it out to (Carle), who made a quick shot. ... I just happened to be hanging around for the rebound. It went upstairs and it worked out pretty fast."

St. Louis tied the contest with six seconds remaining in regulation as Keith Tkachuk made a centering feed from the left wing boards that deflected off both Bill Guerin and Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan and past netminder Vesa Toskala.

"That's a (heck) of a hockey team we just played," Guerin said. "They are young, fast and big, but we were right there. There (are) some good signs, but the bottom line is results. You don't get two points for putting in a good effort. You've got to win hockey games."

Mark Bell, who scored a career-high 25 goals with Chicago last season, gave San Jose a 4-3 lead with 5:42 left in the third period after being set up by Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo, last season's Maurice Richard Trophy winner.

"We were a little sloppy in our end," Bell said. "We've got to give St Louis credit. They played their game very well and we got behind their (defense) and stuff like that. But it's two points and that's how we have to look at (it)."

After leading the league with seven preseason goals, Michalek scored on a pair on 5-on-3 power plays in a 47-second span of the second period as the Sharks topped the Blues for the fourth time in their last five encounters.

Trailing 2-1, San Jose tied the game at 6:11 of the second session. Legace stopped Thornton's shot from the right faceoff circle, but the 21-year-old Michalek banged in the rebound.

"They played tough," Thornton said. "Their (defense) played well, I thought, tonight. We didn't get enough (forechecking) on the defensemen. We didn't get any pressure down low."

Moments later, Michalek netted his second tally of the period when he redirected Thornton's feed from near the right wing boards for his second career two-goal effort.

"I'm happy to be playing with the same guys again this year," Michalek said. "We did good last year, and this year, I think we can do even better. ... I feel pretty good and I'm very confident out there. I think that's the most important thing in hockey, to get confident."

Cheechoo recorded two assists and Toskala made 31 saves en route to his eighth consecutive regular season victory for the Sharks.

Legace stopped 29 shots for the Blues, who fell to 20-8-1 here.

St. Louis, which rankedlast in wins (21), points (57) and goals (197) last season, is winless in nine straight season openers (0-6-3), the league's second-longest streak. The Detroit Red Wings had a 12-year stretch from 1982-93 without a win in their first game of the campaign.

"We battled back and we had a 5-on-3," St. Louis coach Mike Kitchen said. "We didn't score, but it created a lot of momentum. ... The one thing is, we never quit. We kept pressing. If we could just clean up a couple of our turnovers, we'll be OK."

Dan Hinote needed just 36 seconds to open the scoring for St. Louis as he took the rebound of Jamal Mayers' wraparound shot and slipped the puck between Toskala's pads.

After Carle tied it at 2:39 of the opening session, Hinote set up Mayers, who scored from a bad angle 63 seconds later to give the Blues a 2-1 lead.

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