NHL Game Summary - Anaheim at San Jose
(Saturday, April 15th)
Final Score: San Jose 6, Anaheim 3
San Jose, CA (Sports Network) - Jonathan Cheechoo moved into first place in the NHL scoring race with a hat trick, as the San Jose Sharks locked up the No. 5 spot in the Western Conference with a 6-3 win over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim at HP Pavilion.
Nils Ekman had a goal and three assists in the win while Vesa Toskala stopped 31 shots for San Jose, which will face No. 4 Nashville in the first round of the playoffs.
Cheechoo started the day a goal behind the New York Rangers' Jaromir Jagr, but Jagr was held scoreless in a 4-1 loss to Philadelphia Saturday while Cheechoo netted his 54th, 55th and 56th goals of the campaign. He also had two assists.
Ryan Getzlaf and Andy McDonald had a goal and an assist each for the Ducks, who have a tenuous hold of sixth place in the Western Conference. They currently have a one point lead over Colorado, with both teams having one game left to play.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere allowed five goals on 18 shots before being pulled in favor of Ilja Bryzgalov, who finished with three saves.
The Sharks jumped all over Anaheim from the onset, and built a 3-0 advantage by the end of the first period.
The first goal came just 21 seconds in, as Ekman moved in behind the goal line before dishing the puck out front, where Joe Thornton one-timed it home to put San Jose on the board.
Cheechoo netted a power-play tally at the 11:03 mark to make it 2-0. A crisp passing sequence ended with the right winger taking a feed from Ekman in the bottom of the left circle and firing a wrister past Giguere.
"That was nice. Anytime you can get and jump on them right away, and get a lead, kinda gets them back on their heels and gives us some momentum, and gets the crowd into it," Cheechoo said.
Steve Bernier added a shorthanded breakaway tally about four minutes later to put the Sharks in firm command. Mark Smith gained control of the disc in the San Jose zone, spotted Bernier coming out of the penalty box, and delivered a long outlet pass. Bernier corralled the puck in stride, flew into the zone all alone and unleashed a wrister that flew past Giguere's glove with 4:58 remaining.
San Jose stretched its lead to 4-0 only 49 seconds into the second stanza on Cheechoo's second tally of the contest. After a scrum in front, the puck wound up under the pads of Giguere, then leaked out behind the netminder to the side of the net. Cheechoo worked the disc off the post and then wrapped it in.
Anaheim got on the board midway through the second on a power-play goal from Getzlaf, whose shot from the point navigated through traffic before beating a screened Toskala.
Ekman, however, countered with a backhander from the slot with 2:46 left in the second to extend the lead to 5-1.
The Ducks scored two goals less than a minute apart in the third period, as Joffrey Lupul notched his 28th of the season 7:45 in and McDonald followed with a breakaway goal to cut the deficit to 5-3.
Anaheim got no closer, however, as San Jose added an empty netter to cap the scoring.
Thornton finished with a goal and two assists, and now has 96 helpers on the season...The Sharks have now won eight straight games...Anaheim has lost three straight and four of six...The Ducks and Sharks finished the season series tied at 4-4.
04/16 01:18:07 ET