Cheechoo's first career hat trick - spiced by a penalty-shot conversion - sparked the Sharks to a 4-2 victory over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
The penalty shot accounted for the second of Cheechoo's three goals. It came early in the third period while the Sharks were again short-handed, another theme of the night.
Scott Hannan, who contributed a stout all-around effort, jabbed the puck away from Petr Sykora to spring Cheechoo on the breakaway. Keith Carney pulled Cheechoo from behind to set up the penalty shot.
Cheechoo took a deliberate approach against Jean-Sebastien Giguere before snapping the puck over the goalie's glove. He is 2 for 2 in his career on penalty shots; who can forget his motorcycle-kick move against Columbus in 2003-04?
Thirty seconds later, Cheechoo capped his hat trick by snagging a loose puck in the neutral zone and barging into Anaheim's zone.
He shrugged off the attempted check of defenseman Francois Beachemin and proceeded to beat Giguere high on the glove side again.
Cheechoo gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead by scoring during a five-on-three power play.
Tom Preissing launched a one-timer on Joe Thornton's feed. Giguere stopped the shot, but Cheechoo gathered the rebound at the left post and deposited his 14th goal of the season.
The Sharks earned the two-man advantage thanks to a seldom-invoked rule.
After Chris Kunitz went to the box for an interference call, Anaheim center Samuel Pahlsson got tossed from the faceoff. With his replacement, Jonathan Hedstrom, lined up for the draw, the Ducks apparently made a false start. When the second man is taking the faceoff and that happens, a penalty is automatic.
Scott Parker, playing just his second game this season, extended the lead to 2-0. Mark Smith whipped a pass out of the left corner to Parker, who shoveled the puck home from the lip of the crease.
Parker's only previous goal as a Shark was also against the Mighty Ducks (December 10, 2003, at Anaheim).
The Sharks held a 9-1 advantage in shots when they began submarining themselves with four consecutive penalties to close out the first period. It started with Parker's hooking infraction at 10:13.
Later in the first, Preissing (high-sticking) and Scott Hannan (cross-checking) went off 35 seconds apart to give Anaheim a two-man advantage.
Petr Sykora converted for the Ducks with a rip from the top of the right circle.
Nabokov, completely screened by Rob Niedermayer, had little chance.
The Sharks defused the rest of Hannan's penalty time, but by the end of the first period, the Ducks had a 12-11 edge in shots.
Aided by another Sharks penalty (Grant Stevenson for hooking), the Ducks opened the second period with seven unanswered shots.
The Sharks escaped further trouble when Nils Ekman received a double minor for high-sticking Todd Marchant halfway through the second.
The Sharks, the second-least penalized team in the league, uncharacteristically found themselves short-handed nine times.
But Nabokov was sharp throughout the night, including tough, close-range saves on Teemu Selanne late in the first and Zenon Konopka early in the third on power plays for Anaheim.
In other NHL action: New Jersey 3, NY Rangers 1; Carolina 6, Tampa Bay 4; Detroit 4, Columbus 3 (o.p.); Montreal 4, Ottawa 3 (o.p.); Nashville 3, Colorado 2; St. Louis 5, Phoenix 4; San Jose 4, Anaheim 2.