Predators
Sharks
2 - 3 Final - 2OT
  for this game

Cheechoo nets shootout winner for Sharks

Mar 20, 2009 - 6:22 AM
SAN JOSE, California (AP) -- Jonathan Cheechoo is too young for true nostalgia. Still, the formerly fearsome San Jose forward's last several games have felt an awful lot like the good old days of 2006.

He's back on a line with Joe Thornton, the passing machine who fed pucks into his wheelhouse during his Richard Trophy-winning campaign. And although they haven't yet connected for a score, Cheechoo is still getting key goals during a playoff chase as the Sharks stumble toward the top of the NHL standings.

Cheechoo scored the winning shootout goal with a deft backhand, and Evgeni Nabokov made 24 saves in the Sharks' 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.

Rob Blake and Milan Michalek scored early goals for the Sharks, who moved one point behind NHL-leading Detroit with just their fourth victory in 10 games. After 45 scoreless minutes, San Jose prevailed with its second home shootout winner in six days from Cheechoo, who hasn't scored a regulation goal in 13 games.

Cheechoo feels his fortunes have mirrored the Sharks' struggles over the past few weeks: plenty of hard work counterbalanced by too many mistakes, leaving too little to show for it. He also got hit with an iffy interference penalty that led to Phoenix's decisive power-play goal in a loss to the Coyotes two days earlier, leaving him hustling for redemption throughout a strong game against the Predators.

"I've got some chances, but I've been getting chances for a while now, so I've got to start putting them in," said Cheechoo, who read rookie goalie Pekka Rinne's movements and picked a spot for his high backhand. "I'm happy with the way we played. We've just got to keep moving forward, keep building on this."

Joe Pavelski, whose giveaway resulted in Nashville's second goal, also beat Rinne before Cheechoo, who got the winner against Los Angeles in the seventh round Saturday.

"Cheech had a spark in him that we've seen throughout the year, but not on a consistent basis," coach Todd McLellan said. "It makes me excited to come to the rink tomorrow and put him back on that line (with Thornton and Patrick Marleau), because he's earned it."

Joel Ward and Vernon Fiddler scored first-period goals for the Predators, who finished a key four-game West Coast trip with six points, solidifying their position in the playoff chase. Rinne made 36 saves in his second start in two days for Nashville, which lost in overtime at Anaheim one night earlier.

All four regulation goals were scored in the first period, and the goalies traded big stops in the final two frames, including Nabokov's excellent save on David Legwand's breakaway in the last few minutes of regulation.

"Both teams played with pretty good intensity," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "We had a great chance with two minutes to go. Legwand had the breakaway and got the puck off the rebound, and shot it out the back door, sort of. If we'd scored there, you never know."

San Jose clinched the Pacific Division title and a playoff spot during the past few days, but the Sharks' three weeks of lackluster play were thoroughly discussed during a 90-minute organizational meeting Wednesday. Players were reluctant to discuss the meeting's specifics, but the Sharks clearly left with a nervous edge.

Nashville went up 2-1 late in the first period when Pavelski's egregious turnover at the Nashville blue line gave a breakaway to Fiddler, who scored his 10th goal of the season. Michalek tied it with 3.1 seconds left in the period, banging home his 20th goal on a rebound after a sustained rally in front of Rinne's net.

The Predators kept playing well in their fifth straight game without captain Jason Arnott, who has an upper-body injury.

Before the game, the Sharks learned they'll be without left wing Ryane Clowe for at least a week after the bruising power forward underwent minor lower-body surgery. With 52 points in 69 games, Clowe is San Jose's fourth-leading scorer and the most important player yet to be affected by the injury crush that's hitting the Sharks.






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    Predators 2, Sharks 3  Final - 2OTMar 20 11:26 AM


  • NHL
    FINAL IN SHOOTOUT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    NASHVILLE 2 0 0 0 (1) 2
    SAN JOSE 2 0 0 0 (2) 3 FINAL IN SHOOTOUT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: SAN - (PP) ROB BLAKE 10 (JOE THORNTON, DAN BOYLE) 14:27
    NAS - JOEL WARD 15 (DAN HAMHUIS, JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT) 16:40
    NAS - (SH) VERNON FIDDLER 10 (UNASSISTED) 18:04
    SAN - MI

    Predators 2, Sharks 3  Final - 2OTMar 20 1:16 AM


  • NHL
    END OF OT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    NASHVILLE 2 0 0 0 2
    SAN JOSE 2 0 0 0 2 END OF OT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: SAN - (PP) ROB BLAKE 10 (JOE THORNTON, DAN BOYLE) 14:27
    NAS - JOEL WARD 15 (DAN HAMHUIS, JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT) 16:40
    NAS - (SH) VERNON FIDDLER 10 (UNASSISTED) 18:04
    SAN - MILAN MIC

    Mar 20 1:10 AM
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    Predators 2, Sharks 2  OT - 4:55Mar 20 1:03 AM


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    END OF THE 3RD GOING INTO OT
    1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NASHVILLE 2 0 0 2
    SAN JOSE 2 0 0 2 GOING INTO OT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: SAN - (PP) ROB BLAKE 10 (JOE THORNTON, DAN BOYLE) 14:27
    NAS - JOEL WARD 15 (DAN HAMHUIS, JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT) 16:40
    NAS - (SH) VERNON FIDDLER 10 (UNASSISTED) 18:04
    SAN - MILAN MICHALEK 20 (DEVIN SETOGUCH

    Mar 20 1:02 AM
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    Predators 2, Sharks 2  3rd - 2:22Mar 20 12:56 AM
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    Predators 2, Sharks 2  3rd - 7:00Mar 20 12:51 AM
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    Predators 2, Sharks 2  3rd - 10:37Mar 20 12:43 AM
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    Predators 2, Sharks 2  3rd - 12:48Mar 20 12:40 AM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NASHVILLE 2 0 2
    SAN JOSE 2 0 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: SAN - (PP) ROB BLAKE 10 (JOE THORNTON, DAN BOYLE) 14:27
    NAS - JOEL WARD 15 (DAN HAMHUIS, JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT) 16:40
    NAS - (SH) VERNON FIDDLER 10 (UNASSISTED) 18:04
    SAN - MILAN MICHALEK 20 (DEVIN SETOGUCHI,

    Mar 20 12:11 AM
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    Predators 2, Sharks 2  2nd - 8:44Mar 19 11:55 PM


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    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NASHVILLE 2 2
    SAN JOSE 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: SAN - (PP) ROB BLAKE 10 (JOE THORNTON, DAN BOYLE) 14:27
    NAS - JOEL WARD 15 (DAN HAMHUIS, JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT) 16:40
    NAS - (SH) VERNON FIDDLER 10 (UNASSISTED) 18:04
    SAN - MILAN MICHALEK 20 (UNASSISTED) 19:5

    Mar 19 11:20 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 2
    SAN JOSE 2
    1ST PRD: SAN - MILAN MICHALEK 20 (UNASSISTED) 19:56

    Predators 2, Sharks 2  1st - 0:04Mar 19 11:20 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 2
    SAN JOSE 1
    1ST PRD: NAS - (SH) VERNON FIDDLER 10 (UNASSISTED) 18:04

    Predators 2, Sharks 1  1st - 1:56Mar 19 11:16 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 1
    SAN JOSE 1
    1ST PRD: NAS - JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT 16 (DAN HAMHUIS, JOEL WARD) 16:40

    Predators 1, Sharks 1  1st - 3:20Mar 19 11:12 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 0
    SAN JOSE 1
    1ST PRD: SAN - (PP) ROB BLAKE 10 (JOE THORNTON, DAN BOYLE) 14:27

    Predators 0, Sharks 1  1st - 5:33Mar 19 11:05 PM