POST GAME ON THE ROAD presented by:
The San Jose Sharks said they wanted to use the first game after the All-Star break as a springboard to a successful second half of their season. Sitting with a slim lead in the Pacific Division, they took care of business and were the team that “started on time” tonight.
Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton scored less than two minutes apart in the first period, setting the tone for the Sharks as they defeated the Blue Jackets by a 6-0 final in front of a sold-out crowd at HP Pavilion. Columbus had trouble with the Sharks from the outset, who were focused on getting to the net and capitalizing on rebound opportunities throughout the course of the game.
Marleau was in position at the side of the net to collect a rebound from Justin Braun’s point shot and make it 1-0 at 7:53 of the first period. At 9:43, Thornton picked off a breakout pass and buried his ninth of the year for a two-goal spread. Blue Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin was looking to head-man the puck to Antoine Vermette, but the errant puck found Thornton’s tape and he had a clean look at Steve Mason. The Columbus netminder made the first save with his right pad, but Thornton followed his own shot and cashed the put-back.
Blue Jackets center Derek MacKenzie’s stick broke during a lengthy penalty-killing shift in the second period, and with the dangerous Sharks power play at work, he was victimized trying to block Joe Pavelski’s wrist shot. The puck got through the traffic and deflected off MacKenzie’s glove, beating Mason for a 3-0 lead at 4:56.
Jamie McGinn also scored on a rebound for his 10th goal of the season at 16:55 of the second period, sliding a loose puck from Douglas Murray’s shot under Mason to make it 4-0. After a turnover below the Blue Jackets’ net, the Sharks got a goal from Michal Handzus for a 5-0 lead less than two minutes into the third period.
Thornton’s second of the game came off an odd-man rush in the third, sweeping Pavelski’s centering pass into the net to seal the final margin. Antti Niemi made 30 saves to record his second consecutive shutout.
Though the Blue Jackets did not get on the scoreboard in tonight’s game, they were down two goals to start the second period and had a chance to make amends for a sluggish opening period. With Derick Brassard in the box for interference and MacKenzie sans stick, Pavelski got the most important goal in a 2-0 game: the 3-0 goal.
Columbus, which held the longest active streak in the NHL without being shutout at 47 games prior to the Jan. 19 game at Nashville, has been shutout twice in the past five games.
The Blue Jackets are now 13-26-4 all-time against San Jose, including a 3-17-2 mark at HP Pavilion at San Jose.
Derek MacKenzie had three hits on the night to push his season total to 139. He entered the night ranked 15th in the NHL in that category.
Vermette won 12-of-18 face-offs (66.7 percent) on the night. He has won 49 of his last 69 face-offs (71.0 percent) the last four games and entered the night ranked seventh in the NHL in face-off win percentage (57.5 percent).
vs. Los Angeles Kings
STAPLES Center | Los Angeles, Calif.
Wednesday, 10:30 p.m.
TV: FOX Sports Ohio (HD)
Radio: 97.1 The Fan & BlueJackets.com