for this game

Cheechoo's hat trick helps extend Sharks' points streak

Mar 23, 2007 - 4:35 AM
ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Jonathan Cheechoo is getting hot at just the right time for the San Jose Sharks.

Cheechoo recorded his second hat trick of the season and Joe Thornton collected three assists as the Sharks cruised to a 5-1 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers.

Milan Michalek extended his goal-scoring streak to three games and Bill Guerin also tallied for San Jose (46-25-4), which climbed within two points of first-place Anaheim (43-19-12) in the Pacific Division.

After falling behind eight minutes into the contest, the Sharks scored five unanswered goals to stretch their streak of earning at least one point to 10 games (8-0-2). Cheechoo began the outburst with just under seven minutes to go in the first period and netted tallies around Guerin's sixth in as many games in the middle session to complete his seventh career hat trick.

"I'm happy for him," Michalek said. "He's my linemate, he's my teammate, so I'm happy for him. He's scoring again, so I hope it continues like that."

Last season's Maurice Richard Trophy winner, Cheechoo has scored seven goals in his last five games. However, he elected to discuss his team's accomplishment rather than his own.

"We knew this was going to be a big test because we've been playing teams that are out of the playoffs," Cheechoo said. "This is the first team that has been on a real hot streak of late. We wanted to come in here and try to get a good start on them."

Thornton, who extended his points streak to eight games with three assists against Chicago on Wednesday, set up another trio of tallies to raise his league-leading assists total to 82. The reigning Art Ross Trophy winner, Thornton has 102 points, six behind Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby for first in the NHL.

"Thornton, Cheechoo and the bunch gave us quite a display of hockey from the start of the second period to the last second of the game," Atlanta coach Bob Hartley said. "We knew how dominant they could be, but at the same time, not taking anything away from their guys, but we just didn't give ourselves a chance to win."

Michalek added two assists and Vesa Toskala made 18 saves for the Sharks, who have a league-best 25 road wins. San Jose improved to 8-1-0 against Eastern Conference opponents.

"We don't get a chance to play all the Eastern teams, but I know the top five of the six teams in the West are big, fast and physical," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "It seems a lot of the Eastern teams struggle with that."

Pascal Dupuis scored the lone goal for Atlanta (39-26-10), which fell to 1-7-2 all-time against San Jose and saw its lead over second-place Tampa Bay (41-30-4) in the Southeast Division shrink to two points.

"There's no way you're going to win a hockey game the way we played tonight," Hartley said. "You get beat 2-1, you get beat 2-0, you get beat 5-1, it's all the same thing - you get no points."

At 7:53 of the first period, Dupuis beat Toskala with a one-timer from the bottom of the right faceoff circle for his 13th goal of the season and second as a Thrasher. But Atlanta's lead lasted less than 8 1/2 minutes as Cheechoo tapped in a feed from Thornton with 6:50 to go in the session to forge a 1-1 tie.

"Obviously, they work well together," Dupuis said. "They work really well down low."

Michalek doubled the advantage for the Sharks with 58 seconds left in the period, knocking in a rebound from the doorstep, and Cheechoo made it 3-1 midway through the second as a loose puck bounced into the net off his right skate. The play was reviewed but ultimately ruled a goal.

"I was just stopping and the puck bounced off me and went in," Cheechoo said. "I had no doubt they were going to call that a goal."

Guerin, who missed all but one shift of the third period with an ailing groin, scored on a breakaway with 5 1/2 minutes remaining in the middle of the second to chase Kari Lehtonen, who allowed four goals on 23 shots.

"After four goals, especially the way we were turning the puck over and basically misreading every play, there was no sense (in keeping Lehtonen in)," Hartley said. "I explained it to him and he was fine with it. There was no sense in exposing a young kid to that."

Cheechoo completed his hat trick against Johan Hedberg, converting a pass from defenseman Christian Ehrhoff from the bottom of the left circle.

"Everybody brings something different," Michalek said of himself and linemates Cheechoo and Thornton, who have combined for eight goals and 10 assists over the last two games. "I bring the speed, Joe brings the pass and Chee is the shooter, so it's working good and I hope it continues."

"My linemates are doing a great job cycling the puck and we're recovering pucks," Cheechoo said. "Joe is a great passer and he found me open a couple of times, and even Christian Ehrhoff on the last one made a backhanded pass through the guy's legs right to me."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    SAN JOSE 2 3 0 5
    ATLANTA 1 0 0 1 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - PASCAL DUPUIS 13 (BOBBY HOLIK, JIM SLATER) 7:53
    SAN - JONATHAN CHEECHOO 28 (JOE THORNTON, MILAN MICHALEK)
    13:10
    SAN - MILAN MICHALEK 23 (JONATHAN CHEECHOO, JOE THORNTON)
    19:02
    2ND PRD: SAN - JONATHAN CHEECHOO

    Mar 22 9:32 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    SAN JOSE 2 3 5
    ATLANTA 1 0 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - PASCAL DUPUIS 13 (BOBBY HOLIK, JIM SLATER) 7:53
    SAN - JONATHAN CHEECHOO 28 (JOE THORNTON, MILAN MICHALEK)
    13:10
    SAN - MILAN MICHALEK 23 (JONATHAN CHEECHOO, JOE THORNTON)
    19:02
    2ND PRD: SAN - JONAT

    Mar 22 8:43 PM


  • NHL
    SAN JOSE 5
    ATLANTA 1
    2ND PRD: SAN - JONATHAN CHEECHOO 30 (CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF) 17:14

    Sharks vs. ThrashersMar 22 8:38 PM


  • NHL
    SAN JOSE 4
    ATLANTA 1
    2ND PRD: SAN - BILL GUERIN 34 (UNASSISTED) 14:29

    Sharks vs. ThrashersMar 22 8:32 PM


  • NHL
    SAN JOSE 3
    ATLANTA 1
    2ND PRD: SAN - JONATHAN CHEECHOO 29 (JOE THORNTON, MILAN MICHALEK)
    11:56

    Sharks vs. ThrashersMar 22 8:27 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    SAN JOSE 2 2
    ATLANTA 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - PASCAL DUPUIS 13 (BOBBY HOLIK, JIM SLATER) 7:53
    SAN - JONATHAN CHEECHOO 28 (JOE THORNTON, MILAN MICHALEK)
    13:10
    SAN - MILAN MICHALEK 23 (JONATHAN CHEECHOO, JOE THORNTON)
    19:02
    SHOTS ON GOAL:

    Mar 22 7:43 PM


  • NHL
    SAN JOSE 2
    ATLANTA 1
    1ST PRD: SAN - MILAN MICHALEK 23 (JONATHAN CHEECHOO, JOE THORNTON)
    19:02

    Sharks vs. ThrashersMar 22 7:43 PM


  • NHL
    SAN JOSE 1
    ATLANTA 1
    1ST PRD: SAN - JONATHAN CHEECHOO 28 (JOE THORNTON, MILAN MICHALEK)
    13:10

    Sharks vs. ThrashersMar 22 7:33 PM


  • NHL
    SAN JOSE 0
    ATLANTA 1
    1ST PRD: ATL - PASCAL DUPUIS 13 (BOBBY HOLIK, JIM SLATER) 7:53

    Sharks vs. ThrashersMar 22 7:24 PM