2/9/08 SHARKS 4, nashville 3
It's been said already, but here it is again. Jonathan Cheechoo has returned.
The oft-unsteady winger recorded his first hat trick of the year, including potting the eventual game winner on the Power Play with just a couple minutes left in the contest. Cheech had a hand in every goal, setting up Milan Michalek midway through the 3rd. Michalek had a multi-point night himself, recording two assists to go with his goal, Joe Thornton had a ho-hum night, assisting on all three of Cheechoo's markers, giving him a league leading 50 helpers, and even Marc-Edouard Vlasic was invited to the multi-point party, recording a pair of assists. Evgeni Nabokov wasn't needed much, but made a couple big saves when he needed to, notching 10 saves in all, earning his league leading 31st victory.
The Teal sit 6 points back of division leading Dallas with 5 fewer games played, putting them at 4th in the Western Conference. Early in the year, a home game for the Sharks pretty much meant a loss for the Sharks, however, since the new year, the Teal are 8-4 at 525 W. Santa Clara, which isn't dominating, but is much better than it was midseason. The Sharks have two more home games before they are chased out of town by the Sybase/Siebel/SAP Open, the annual tennis tournament that takes place at the San Jose Arena/Compaq Center/ HP Pavilion, which will send them on an 8 game trip all the way out to the East Coast.
First things first though, as the Sharks play the second to last home game before that trip tomorrow night when they host the Calgary Flames (7:30). This will be the final matchup with the Flames this year, who lead the season series 2-1, winning each of the last two contests (3-2 in OT in San Jose on 1/3 and 5-4 in Calgary on 1/30), while the Sharks took the first meeting (4-1 in Calgary on 10/22). The Flames visit San Jose losers in 3 of their last 5 contests. Calgary sits in 7th in the West, but until the end of the season, the rankings will change as frequently as the day. Former Shark Owen Nolan had a hat trick when these teams last met, would be fine with me if that wasn't replicated tomorrow.
A couple of milestones to mention, Joe Thornton hit assist number 500, Ron Wilson got coaching win 500, and Jeremy Roenick suited up for career game 1300. Congrats boys.
GO SHARKS (Put out the Flames)