COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ The goalie didn't see the puck. Neither did the
defenseman. Marco Sturm sure did.
Sturm jammed in a loose puck with 16.1 seconds left in overtime _ on the
Sharks' franchise-record 50th shot _ to give San Jose a 2-1 victory over the
Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.
Marc Denis, who set a Columbus record with 48 saves, appeared to have
covered Patrick Marleau's shot. But Sturm swooped in near the left post and got
a stick on the puck as it popped loose off Denis' leg pad, pushing it into the
net while shadowed by a defenseman for his 16th goal of the season.
``It was kind of funny because (Marleau's) shot wasn't really hard,'' Sturm
said. ``The goalie didn't see it at all. It was laying right there, between the
posts and his pad. I got lucky that the defenseman didn't see it either and I
put it in.''
It was the Sharks' first overtime victory of the season after going 0-5-11
in their first 16. Sturm's goal also ended the Sharks' four-game road losing
San Jose dominated the game, continually controlling the puck yet could
easily have lost.
``You just fear that as the game goes on it's going to be a bad bounce or a
mistake that gets you,'' coach Ron Wilson said.
Brad Stuart, who also assisted on Sturm's goal, notched his fourth goal for
the Sharks, and Evgeni Nabokov made 23 saves.
The 50 shots on goal broke the previous San Jose record of 45 set earlier
this season against Phoenix.
``We just tried to keep shooting the puck, keep it wide, put it on net and
see what happens,'' said Stuart, who hadn't scored a goal in 33 games since
Nov. 30 at Edmonton. ``Sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn't. We were
lucky enough to score in the final seconds of the game.''
Geoff Sanderson scored the only goal for Columbus, which had won its last
two at home. The Blue Jackets were 4-0-4 in their last eight overtime games _
all under interim coach Gerard Gallant.
``We can't play like that. We played like a bunch of individuals tonight. It
wasn't a team game,'' Gallant said. ``That's why they deserve to win in
overtime. The whole game they dominated, from the 10-minute mark of the first
period on. One guy (Denis) scored a point for us tonight.''
Denis said setting the team record for saves meant nothing.
``All that is erased by the end result,'' he said.
Sanderson put the Blue Jackets ahead 3:14 into the opening period when
Alexander Svitov's centering pass from the right boards ricocheted off a
defenseman's skate and ended up on Sanderson's stick behind the goal cage.
Sanderson's wraparound slipped through the leg pads of Nabokov for his 10th
goal of the season.
The Sharks pulled even later in the period when Denis blocked Alexander
Korolyuk's blast from the left circle but Stuart slapped in the rebound for his
There were plenty of close calls for both teams.
Rick Nash, leading the NHL with 31 goals, ended up with the puck all alone
in the slot after a turnover early in the final period. He put a move on
Nabokov, and drilled a shot that clanged off the left post.
Three times the Sharks had shots hit the pipes. Wayne Primeau, Alyn McCauley
and Alexander Korolyuk each had shots in the second period that eluded Denis
but caught metal.
The Blue Jackets cycled the puck after San Jose's Scott Hannan was called
for a holding penalty 2:09 into the overtime but they never mustered a shot.
``That was an unbelievable penalty kill in overtime,'' Wilson said.
Stuart passed to Marleau to initiate the final rush that led to Sturm's
game-winner. Sturm said he was worried that the referee might blow the play
dead before he could get his stick on the puck.
``It was kind of there for a couple of seconds,'' he said.
The teams failed score on four power-play chances each.