Vishnevski nets tying goal, sets up Thomas' winner


ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Steve Thomas thought he was on the down
side of his career -- until the Anaheim Mighty Ducks gave him a new
lease on life.

Thomas had just four goals in 69 games this season with Chicago
before he was acquired by Anaheim at the trading deadline. In just
two games with the Ducks, he has three goals and two game-winners,
including an overtime goal in Thursday night's 3-2 victory over the
San Jose Sharks.

"I always said that it would be time to call it quits when
there were guys in the league now that weren't even born when I was
playing,'' said Thomas, who has 404 goals in 19 NHL seasons.

"It seems like my career's just flown by. I've had such a great
time playing in this league and I've met so many great people. But
I'm going to have to try and continue to play. Things are going
good right now, and it just gives me that much more confidence and
gives me the belief that I can still play in this league.''

Vitaly Vishnevski got the tying goal early in the third period
and set up Thomas' 12th career overtime goal, which tied the NHL
record shared by Sergei Fedorov and Jaromir Jagr.

Thomas, who scored twice on two shots against his former
Blackhawks teammates in Wednesday's 5-2 win, ended this one at 2:04
of the extra five-minute period. He put in a rebound after
Vishnevski poked the puck off the boards past San Jose defenseman
Mike Rathje in the neutral zone and was stopped by goalie Mikka

"I looked down, the puck was loose, people were trying to whack
away at it and the goalie was trying to grab it. But I just
happened to get my stick on it and it found its way in,'' Thomas

Petr Sykora also scored and Martin Gerber made 27 saves for the
Ducks, who broke a sixth-place tie with Minnesota in the Western

Gerber has allowed no more than two goals in any of his last 10
starts, matching Roman Cechmanek and Philadelphia teammate Robert
Esche for the longest such streak this season.

"We have a good system and everyone knows what his job is,''
Gerber said. "Everything depends on how much we believe in our
system and in ourselves.''

The Sharks threatened to beat the Ducks on their home rink for
the sixth straight time after Adam Graves scored his ninth goal
early in the second period and defenseman Rob Davison got his first
NHL goal 43 seconds later.

But Vishnevski got Anaheim even on a short wrist shot that beat
Kiprusoff to the stick side with 15:02 remaining. It was
Vishnevski's second goal in four games after going scoreless in his
previous 204 contests.

"The big thing with Vish is that he came to camp injured. And
when you're young, you're behind the 8-ball,'' Anaheim coach Mike
Babcock said. "But now he's confident, he works really hard and he
hasn't lost focus.''

Graves' goal came on a deflection of Todd Harvey's screened
wrist shot from the right circle. Davison put the Sharks ahead 2-1
with a slap shot from the left point that beat Gerber through a

"Teemu (Selanne) had just finished telling me not to be afraid
to step up into the play. I saw the chance and just shot it as hard
as I could,'' Davison said. "I was just trying to get it by the
first guy. They told me it went underneath his arm, but I didn't
see it until it was in the net.''

Sykora's team-high 27th goal came on a short wrist shot that
opened the scoring 5:12 into the game after former Sharks
defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh spotted him cruising down the slot.

Game notes
Thomas, who had only four goals in 69 games with Chicago
this season, has scored on three of his first four shots since
joining the Ducks. ... The game originally was to be played on
March 26, but was shifted to accomodate a scheduling conflict with
the NCAA West Regional. ... Ron Wilson, who coached the Ducks
during their first four seasons in the league, is 5-8-0 against
them with Washington and San Jose. This was his first visit to
Anaheim since taking the Sharks' job on Dec. 4. ... Goalie
Jean-Sebastien Giguere's next victory will tie Anaheim's
single-season club record of 31, set by Guy Hebert in 1998-99.