Sharks Win 10th Straight Vs. Capitals

Thursday, February 22nd 2007, 6:14 am
By: News On 6

The San Jose Sharks kept up their domination of the Washington Capitals while ending a three-game losing streak. The Detroit Red Wings haven't had much trouble with anyone at home recently.

Patrick Rissmiller and Matthew Carle scored in regulation and Joe Pavelski and Jonathan Cheechoo had shootout goals to rally the Sharks to their 10th straight victory against the Capitals, 3-2 Wednesday night.

Evgeni Nabokov stopped 24 shots for San Jose, which had lost five of its previous eight. The Sharks, boasting the league's best power play, came into the game 4-for-31 on the man advantage during the last eight games.

``There comes a point where you have to leave everything (bad) behind you,'' Cheechoo said. ``Everyone stayed real positive.''

Dominik Hasek made 26 saves, and Henrik Zetterberg scored the tiebreaking goal with 6:22 left and added an empty-netter to lead the Red Wings to a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Detroit got its 13th consecutive home win, moving within one of the franchise record set in 1964-65.

``We played a team that's 20 points behind us,'' Hasek said. ``You should beat a team like that.''

Pavel Datsyuk and Kris Draper also scored for the Red Wings, and Zetterberg put them ahead for good when he converted a cross-ice pass from Datsyuk as a penalty was being called on Chicago.

Zetterberg's empty-netter with 38 seconds left was his 32nd goal of the season, and 13th in the last 10 games. He has 25 points in that span and has the game-winning goal in six of Detroit's last eight wins. He leads the NHL with 10 game-winners.

``You just have to be happy and keep playing,'' Zetterberg said. ``It really helps the team when the line is playing so well.''

Not only is Zetterberg producing offensively but he's playing well defensively, and winning key faceoffs.

``He's scoring right now. It's not like at the start of the year, he wasn't playing well,'' Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said.

Datsyuk gave Detroit a 2-1 lead with short-handed goal 9:17 into the third period, just 8 seconds after Chris Chelios was called for accidentally highsticking James Wisniewski. The lead didn't last long, as Smolinski connected for a power-play goal 1:29 later on a slap shot from the right circle.

At Washington, Shaone Morrisonn and Brian Sutherby scored for the Capitals, who have not beaten the Sharks since Feb. 20, 1999. Washington has dropped five straight overall and fell to 1-8 in shootouts.

``They have a pretty skilled group out there, but every team has a skilled group,'' Nabokov said. ``With the shootout, you're always rolling the dice.''

Matt Pettinger scored in the shootout for the Capitals, but Nabokov denied Alex Ovechkin on a stick save in front and Alexander Semin on a move to the right post. Cheechoo then ended the shootout with a backhander past Brent Johnson at the left post.

Ovechkin, mired in a career-worst scoring slump with one goal in nine games, wasn't surprised that Nabokov challenged him. The goalie's poke check left the puck in front of the crease as Ovechkin skated harmlessly by.

``He knows me,'' Ovechkin said of Nabokov. ``I tried to do some move, but the stick come to me and he saved the puck.''

Morrisonn and Sutherby scored less than a minute apart midway through the opening period, as Washington scored on two of its first four shots.

``It could have been easy to throw up a white towel,'' Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. ``It was close by.''

However, Rissmiller converted Mike Grier's right-wing pass, capping a 3-on-2 break with his fifth goal at 17:02, and Carle's power-play goal with 14:11 remaining in the third period tied the score.