Sharks net three in third to top Thrashers

SAN JOSE, California (Ticker) — Ryane Clowe scored one of three
third-period goals for the San Jose Sharks in Saturday’s 3-1
victory over the Atlanta Thrashers.

Jonathan Cheechoo and Joe Thornton also scored on the power play
or the Sharks, who recorded their third straight win and set a
franchise record with their 26th home win of the season.

Evgeni Nabokov stopped 22 shots as San Jose won all three games
of a short homestand following a 1-2-4 stretch that included a
five-game road trip.

“We don’t play early games much, I think it’s our first home
game at 1:00, but we came out aggressive in the third and scored
two quick goals to win this game,” said Nabokov.

The action picked up early in the third period after Nabokov and
Kari Lehtonen combined to keep each team off the scoreboard in
the opening 40 minutes.

“Sometimes these games are a little bit predictable,” Sharks
coach Todd McLellan said. “The standings sometimes get in the
way of your preparation. They are a pretty good offensive
hockey club; they mowed their way through some good teams in the
west. The energy level obviously wasn’t where it needed to be

Clowe scored his 21st of the season just 30 seconds into the
period and Cheechoo followed with man-advantage tally 2:25
later. Joe Pavelski assisted on Clowe’s goal, giving him a
career-high six game assist streak.

“As soon as the second period was over, we talked about having
good shots but no net presence,” Pavelski said. “You go to the
net like that, you get rewarded, you can’t wait for a lucky
bounce. You have to get in his face.”

With an assist on Cheechoo’s tally 2:55 into the third period,
Jeremy Roenick recorded his 700th career NHL point.

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“JR’s a special player, he lifts everybody up when he’s on the
ice, and he holds us all accountable in the locker room,”
Cheechoo said.

“It just means I’ve played a long time with a lot of good
players,” Roenick said. “I waited a long time for that sucker —
28 games is a long time not to play.”

Roenick, who had been out of action since December 11 because of
a shoulder injury, became the 48th player in league history and
sixth American to reach the 700-assist mark.

“Right from the first time I stepped on the ice for my first
shift, it was a great feeling,” Roenick added. “It’s difficult
physically to come back from the injury, but the fan response
was wonderful. It was nice to get back on the ice and
comfortable in front of your own fans.”

The Thrashers sliced the deficit in half when Bryan Little took
advantage of a 5-on-3 power play to score his 25th goal of the

“I think it gives me a little more confidence,” Little said of
the two-man advantage score. “I think I went through 9 or 10
games without getting a point before this road trip. I think
I’m shooting the puck more which is the biggest thing for me and
I’ve got my confidence back now.”

San Jose regained a two-goal edge when Thornton put a loose puck
past Lehtonen with 6:42 remaining in the game. Dan Boyle’s shot
from the point was knocked down by traffic in front, but the
puck trickled to Thornton at the left of the net.

Lehtonen made 28 saves for Atlanta, which concluded a four-game
road trip with a 2-2-0 mark.