SHARKS 4 | BLUE JACKETS 3 (SO)
Sometimes, a team will feel good about securing one standings point in an overtime loss. Tonight's game certainly felt that way, but make no mistake, the Blue Jackets had their chances to lock up the second.
FINAL: JACKETS 3 | SHARKS 4 (SO)
Joe Pavelski's goal - a pretty one - in the second round of the shootout was the only tally in the skills competition, and it was enough to lift the Sharks to a 4-3 victory at Nationwide Arena. San Jose goaltender Alex Stalock won his 11th game of the season and stopped all three Jackets shooters in the shootout, and to this point, has not been beated in that format on 10 attempts.
Rewind to a wild third period, and both teams could make a case that they deserved two points in the regulation window. San Jose, down 2-1 after 40 minutes, scored two quick goals to go ahead 3-2 and stun a crowd that had been really involved in the game to that point.
But as they've done so often this season, the Blue Jackets re-grouped and found a way to answer.
With less than five minutes remaining, the Calvert-Dubinsky-Horton went to work again (this was a theme all night long) deep in Sharks territory and Dubinsky came up with the puck along the left wing boards. With one quick backhand pass across the top, he found James Wisniewski all by his lonesome - and from about 40 feet out, he absolutely smoked a slap shot past Stalock to tie the game 3-3.
And just when the game looked like a lock for overtime, Brent Burns got caught flat-footed and tripped up Jack Johnson 200 feet from his own net with 1:29 to play. The Blue Jackets pressed, had a couple of chances but couldn't end the game in regulation. It was on to overtime, and though they moved the puck well and kept the Sharks relatively quiet, they weren't able to beat Stalock once more.
The Blue Jackets' response after the go-ahead goal by Marleau set a tone for the rest of the game. They re-discovered the swarming forecheck that was their bread-and-butter both Tuesday against Detroit and in the first two periods against the Sharks. Wisniewski's goal seemed to cast a "we can win this, right now" feeling over the Jackets' bench late in the third period.
1. PATRICK MARLEAU (SJS)
Marleau's been red-hot lately and that continued tonight with a pair of goals, including a (briefly) tide-turning goal early in the third period.
2. BRANDON DUBINSKY (CBJ)
Dubinsky was the spark for Columbus tonight, playing with a fearless energy that seemed to permeate throughout the lineup. He had two assists in 21:10 of ice time and fired five shots on goal.
3. JOE PAVELSKI (SJS)
Pavelski was very good tonight, setting up Marleau's power play goal in the third period and executing a slick move to beat Bobrovsky in the shootout.
AT MINNESOTA WILD
SATURDAY, 8 P.M.
XCEL ENERGY CENTER