Cheechoo swept the puck in during a goal-mouth scramble with 3.7
seconds left Friday night and Patrick Marleau had a goal and two
assists to lead the Sharks to a 5-4 victory over LaBarbera and the
Los Angeles Kings.
Cheechoo, Mark Smith and rookie Milan Michalek each had a goal
and an assist for the Sharks, who scored on their first shot
against both of Los Angeles' rookie goaltenders, including starter
Mathieu Garon. The victory was their second straight after they
began a six-game road trip with four losses.
"It's been a tough October for us so far, but we don't
complain," Sharks defenseman Kyle McLaren said. "We have a lot of
great guys and we showed a lot of character. We knew it was going
to be an uphill struggle for us on this road trip, especially with
the start we got. But we just battled tonight and were fortunate we
came out with a win in regulation and end our long road trip on a
Kings defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky had a goal and two assists.
Craig Conroy and Dustin Brown each had a goal and an assist for Los
Angeles. Alexander Frolov also scored and Pavol Demitra had two
Frolov got the equalizer at 3:04 of the third, one-timing
Brown's centering pass behind rookie goalie Nolan Schaefer. But
Cheechoo got the winner when he poked in the puck that was in the
crease with a second swipe of his stick while LaBarbera was on his
"It was bouncing around when the pass came across to me, and I
just kind of batted at it," Cheechoo said. "Then it went over to
Milan and he kind of to put it on net. I saw it bouncing around in
the crease, so I just took a couple of whacks at it and it finally
The goal came on a power play.
Kings forward Jeremy Roenick, who sat out Tuesday against
Anaheim with a sore hamstring and groin, vented his frustrations on
referees Rob Martell and Brad Watson and received a misconduct in
addition to an unsportmanlike conduct penalty.
"The refs shouldn't decide games," Roenick said during a
profanity-laced outburst. "It was a joke. A good hockey game gone
down the tubes."
Schaefer stopped 21 shots in his first NHL start. He made his
debut in Wednesday night's overtime win at Dallas and allowed one
goal in the final 35 minutes after Vesa Toskala injured his groin.
Sharks No. 1 goalie Evgeni Nabokov sat out his third straight game
because of an injured shoulder.
Kings coach Andy Murray has alternated his goalies through the
first 11 games. This was Garon's turn, after LaBarbera beat Anaheim
3-1 Tuesday night to improve to 5-0 and reduce his goals-against
average to 1.40. But Garon was burned on the first shot of the
game, as Marleau converted a perfect centering pass from Cheechoo.
"We're obviously not happy about our start," Murray said.
"The first thing we emphasized on our board in our meeting before
the game was a strong start. But we were back on our heels, which
is not the way we usually start at home."
The Kings eventually pulled ahead 3-2 at 7:19 of the second on
goals 30 seconds apart by Conroy and Visnovsky, but the Sharks tied
it less than four minutes later when Wayne Primeau backhanded a
rebound of Smith's shot past Garon.
The Sharks appeared to take the lead at 11:08 of the second, but
replays showed that Marcel Goc kicked the puck into the net and the
goal was disallowed. Murray then yanked Garon for the first time
and put in LaBarbera in an attempt to wake up his defensively
"We were struggling a little bit at that point and we needed to
do something to get our team going a bit," Murray said.
But it didn't help, as the Sharks scored on their next shot to
take a 4-3 lead. Smith beat LaBarbera with a screened slap shot
from the left point for his first goal of the season, his 11th in
223 NHL games and his first against the Kings.
"It's always tough going into a game in that situation, but
part of the job is to be ready," LaBarbera said. "So there's no
Smith was forced out with 5:33 left, after a check by Luc
Robitaille left him with a bruised knee. ... The Kings are back at
Staples Center on Saturday against St. Louis, marking the first
time in 11 seasons they will play home games on consecutive nights.
... Alyn McCauley hasn't scored in San Jose's first 11 games. ...
Schaefer spent last season with Cleveland of the AHL, going 17-23-1
with a 2.73 goals-against average. His backup against the Kings was
Dimitri Patzold, who was recalled from Cleveland on Thursday.