4/1 SHARKS 6, los angeles 2
No April Fool's Day here, just another solid offensive barrage by the Boys in Teal. Jonathan Cheechoo recorded his 3rd hat trick of the season, and 8th of his career, as the Sharks kept pace with the rest of the West, burying the Kings 6-2. The Sharks looked pretty solid again, despite a shaky stretch in the second half of the 1st period. Their victory gives them their third consecutive win, and sixth consecutive win at 525 W. Santa Clara (the address of the Tank). Joe Thornton was his usual self, recording four assists, and defenseman Craig Rivet added a pair of helpers too. Evgeni Nabokov, making his fourth consecutive start in the blue paint, wasn't tested too much, as he needed to make just 18 saves to earn his 23rd win of the year.
Mark Bell got the Sharks off to an early start, as he, with the puck and both A TON of space and time, buried a shot past netminder Sean Burke  (Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski). A Thornton non-goal that was rifled off the post kept the momentum firmly on the Sharks side, but the Kings wrestled it away late in the 1st when a Mike Cammalleri wrister nicked the inside of the post and went in, tying the game at 1 (the closest this game was after the opening faceoff). Ron Wilson must have had some strong words for the Sharks, as they came out on fire in the 2nd. Cheechoo recorded all three of his goals [33,34,35] ([powerplay] Craig Rivet, Thornton) ([powerplay] Rivet, Thornton) (Thornton, Matt Carle), and Milan Michalek added another  (Thornton, Marc-Edouard Vlasic), giving the Sharks a 5-1 lead after two. Alexander Frolov made the game 5-2 midway through the 3rd, but Patrick Rissmiller  stretched the lead back to 4 with a goal just a few minutes later (Mike Grier, Curtis Brown).
As was alluded to before, yesterday's game was indeed played on April 1st, which is known as April Fool's Day. There were no real jokes played, however Cheechoo's hat trick was awarded in a tricky way. Originally given credit for just the Sharks 2nd and 5th goals, he had two as the 2nd period ended. However, after reviewing the fourth Sharks tally, he was given credit for the goal that ricocheted off of a leg or two, but was originally shot off of his stick. The 17,496, just returning for the third period of play, were greeted with this news with about 30 seconds left before the start of the frame, but, once Joe Ike (the Sharks PA Announcer) announced the scoring change, the fans knew exactly what to do, tossing hats of all kinds onto the ice surface.
The Sharks have just three games remaining, and, unfortunately, none of which are against teams that are missing the playoffs (like the Kings or Coyotes or even the Kings). Their next contest comes on the road, their last road game of the year, in the house of the Pacific Division leading Anaheim Ducks of Anaheim (7:00 pacific). The Ducks are 4 points ahead of the Sharks, and each team has 3 games remaining. While the Sharks can still win the division, losing this game is not an option in order for that to happen. Wednesday can't come soon enough.
Go Sharks (We BEAT LA AGAIN)