Cheechoo scored a power-play goal with 6:21 to play, and the Sharks came from behind for a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Monday night in Game 3 of their second-round series.
Evgeni Nabokov made 29 saves in another standout effort for the Sharks, who took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series with yet another tight, well-played game between tested playoff foes. Ryane Clowe scored the tying goal and added an assist, while Joe Thornton played another dominant game.
But the winner went to Cheechoo, who was injured by a knee-on-knee hit in San Jose’s first playoff game against Nashville. He hadn’t scored a goal in the post-season until finding the net early in Game 2 against Detroit.
He’s playing through pain on every shift – but last season’s NHL goal-scoring champion still has his touch.
After Thornton’s relentless pressure forced a Detroit penalty, the Sharks finally got a break when Kyle McLaren’s slap shot rebounded directly to Cheechoo, who held the puck before he flipped it past a sprawled Dominik Hasek.
Captain Nicklas Lidstrom scored a power-play goal and Hasek stopped 25 shots for the top-seeded Red Wings, who controlled the first 30 minutes at the hostile Shark Tank after splitting the series’ first two games at home.
Game 4 in the best-of-seven series is Wednesday night, with Game 5 back in Joe Louis Arena on Saturday.