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game recap

Sharks nip Jackets in Stockholm opener

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:50 AM

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Sharks nip Jackets in Stockholm opener
San Jose Sharks 3, Columbus Blue Jackets 2
STOCKHOLM -- It wasn't an artistic game by any stretch of the imagination. The San Jose Sharks and Columbus Blue Jackets failed to get into any sort of rhythm during their 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere game at Globe Arena on Friday night, but there was plenty of tension in a close contest that featured a total of 17 minor penalties and two fights.

Logan Couture played the hero, scoring a power-play goal with 9:45 remaining in the third period to give the Sharks a 3-2 victory in a game that coach Todd McLellan said was more reminiscent of ping-pong than hockey.

"It was a strange game," McLellan said. "There was really nothing going on at 5-on-5, more ping-pong, pucks bouncing all over the place. Ninety-five percent of the chances came on power-play situations for both teams and we were lucky enough to get one more than they did."

Couture's first goal of the season came after Blue Jackets defenseman Mike Commodore was called for boarding Sharks winger Jamie McGinn, who was going full-speed in an attempt to break up an icing. McGinn crashed violently into the end boards and stayed down for about a minute before leaving under his own power. McLellan said McGinn was lucky to turn his head away from the boards and absorb the impact with his shoulder. McGinn's status will be updated Saturday morning.

It took 1:39 for the Sharks to make the Jackets pay, and it all started with a brilliant backhand pass by Sharks forward Ryane Clowe from the top of the zone to Couture at the left circle. The 21-year-old wheeled to his forehand and whipped a quick shot past goaltender Steve Mason, who was screened on the play by Sharks forward Devin Setoguchi.

"We needed one on the power play," Couture said. "We had a lot of pucks to the net and Mason made some nice saves. It was just a matter of time tonight before we got one. Seto was right in front of him so I don't think he saw it."

Torrey Mitchell opened the scoring for the Sharks, beating Mason on a wraparound just 2:11 after the opening faceoff to get the crowd into the game immediately. Mitchell capitalized on a Mason turnover by receiving a pass behind the net from Joe Pavelski, who had two assists, before curling in front and catching Mason out of position.
 
Joe Thornton, in his first game as captain, put the Sharks up 2-0 at 10:57 of the first with a power-play goal. His long slap shot from just inside the blue line tipped the stick of Jackets defenseman Rostislav Klesla and went over the blocker of Mason. The Sharks were 2-for-6 on the power play with the Jackets were 1-for-7.
 
The Blue Jackets needed only 15 seconds late in the first period to even the score at 2-2. Kristian Huselius, a native of Osterhaninge, Sweden, and R.J. Umberger scored in rapid-fire fashion just when it looked like the Sharks were taking over the game.

Huselius gave the home crowd something to cheer about when he took a cross-ice pass from Nikita Filatov and roofed the puck over fallen goaltender Antti Niemi to cut the lead in half. Umberger tied it by following a rush by Ethan Moreau, who picked up a loose puck after a turnover by defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Niemi stopped Moreau's shot, but Umberger banged home the rebound with 2:50 left in an eventful first period.

From that point on, the goaltenders stole the spotlight.

Niemi, making his first start with the Sharks after signing in early September, shut the door. He stopped all 21 shots he faced over the final two periods and 30 overall. His toughest saves came when he sprawled to his left to stop Samuel Pahlsson and Moreau on back-to-back shots in the second period. With the Jackets pressing for the tying goal in the final minutes of the third period, Niemi did some more scrambling to keep the Sharks on top.

McLellan admitted it was nice to see Niemi doing that for his team after he helped orchestrate a sweep of the Sharks as a member of the Blackhawks in last season's Western Conference Finals.

"He was a big man in the net," said McLellan, who wouldn't name a starter for Saturday night's rematch. "There's no doubt about it -- they had a fair number of chances. He fills up a lot of the net and did what he had to do."

Mason also got his game together after a tough start, keeping the game tied at 2-2 before Couture's shot through traffic in front of the net slipped past him. He stopped all 14 shots in the second period when the pressure was at its greatest from San Jose. There were plenty of chances for either team to come away with the victory, something the Jackets can put in their pocket for Saturday night.

"It was a close game, and I think we showed great character coming back from two goals down, we really worked hard," Huselius said. "I think we played a heck of a game 5-on-5. We could have won the game just as well."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo






scoring summary
1st Period
02:11
SJS
Torrey Mitchell (1) Backhand shot - ASST: Ryane Clowe (1), Joe Pavelski (1)
1 - 0 SJS
10:57
SJS
PPG - Joe Thornton (1) Slapshot - ASST: Joe Pavelski (2), Antti Niemi (1)
2 - 0 SJS
16:55
CBJ
PPG - Kristian Huselius (1) Wrist shot - ASST: Nikita Filatov (1), Anton Stralman (1)
2 - 1 SJS
17:10
CBJ
R.J. Umberger (1) Deflected shot - ASST: Ethan Moreau (1), Samuel Pahlsson (1)
2 - 2 Tie
2nd Period
NONE
3rd Period
10:15
SJS
PPG - Logan Couture (1) Wrist shot - ASST: Ryane Clowe (2), Dan Boyle (1)
3 - 2 SJS
penalty summary
1st Period
04:10
SJS
Dany Heatley  Holding the stick against  Antoine Vermette
06:03
SJS
Niclas Wallin  Slashing against  Nikita Filatov
09:26
CBJ
Jared Boll  Fighting (maj) against  Frazer McLaren
09:26
SJS
Frazer McLaren  Fighting (maj) against  Jared Boll
10:25
CBJ
Derek Dorsett  Tripping against  Douglas Murray
12:46
CBJ
Kristian Huselius  Tripping against  Logan Couture
16:31
SJS
Torrey Mitchell  Hi-sticking against  Derek Dorsett
2nd Period
02:10
SJS
Scott Nichol  Slashing against  Derek MacKenzie
02:10
CBJ
Derek MacKenzie  Cross checking against  Scott Nichol
03:48
SJS
Dany Heatley  Cross checking against  Fedor Tyutin
06:36
CBJ
Ethan Moreau  Charging against  Marc-Edouard Vlasic
08:38
CBJ
Jan Hejda  Hooking against  Devin Setoguchi
10:38
CBJ
Mike Commodore  Fighting (maj) against  Ryane Clowe
10:38
SJS
Ryane Clowe  Fighting (maj) against  Mike Commodore
10:38
SJS
Ryane Clowe  Slashing against  Mike Commodore
13:07
SJS
Douglas Murray  Cross checking against  Samuel Pahlsson
17:36
CBJ
Anton Stralman  Hooking against  Joe Pavelski
3rd Period
02:56
CBJ
Samuel Pahlsson  Tripping against  Niclas Wallin
02:56
SJS
Niclas Wallin  Diving against  Samuel Pahlsson
06:13
SJS
Jamie McGinn  Tripping against  Anton Stralman
08:26
CBJ
Mike Commodore  Boarding against  Jamie McGinn
goalie stats
Antti Niemi
SA: 32TOI: 60:00
Saves: 30EV: 14 - 15
PIM: 0PP: 15 - 16
SV%: .938SH: 1 - 1
Steve Mason
SA: 28TOI: 57:58
Saves: 25EV: 8 - 9
PIM: 0PP: 15 - 17
SV%: .893SH: 2 - 2