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Sharks nip Blue Jackets 3-2 in shootout

by John Kreiser /
Everything is going right for the San Jose Sharks these days.

San Jose extended its winning streak to six games when defenseman Dan Boyle scored the lone goal of the shootout to give the Sharks a 3-2 victory at Columbus on Wednesday night.

Evgeni Nabokov made 26 saves in regulation and overtime, then stopped attempts by Nikita Filatov, Anton Strahlman and Rick Nash in the shootout as the Sharks improved to 11-4-1, including 7-4-0 on the road. They've won eight of their last nine games.

It was the third consecutive time that the Sharks and Jackets have gone past regulation at Nationwide Arena. Columbus won both of last season's games in overtime.

"The whole night was a challenge," San Jose coach Todd McLellan said. "We probably didn't play as well as we would have liked to, but we came away with a win. Both teams, you could see, were missing some skill. It wasn't an overly pretty game to watch. They did a good job of playing a straight forward, hard game and we tried to match that."

After Boyle snapped a shot past Steve Mason in the second round of the shootout, Nabokov gave the Sharks the extra point by denying Nash.

"To be honest with you, I never have any plan because the shooters are all so skilled," Nabokov said. "I never scout the guys. I just try to make sure my gaps are covered and try not to be out of position."

Joe Thornton scored and Dany Heatley added a power-play goal for San Jose. Nash had a power-play goal and Jason Chimera also scored for the Blue Jackets, who got 36 saves from Mason but have lost six of eight games since a 5-1-0 start.

"The confidence is we can play with all the good teams," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Now it's whether we can motivate ourselves every night -- that's what the good teams do. No matter who it is, (the good teams) play well every night and that's what we're trying to get to. We want to prove we're a good team. We got guys digging in. We’re emotionally starting to connect with everybody."

San Jose opened the scoring on Thornton's shot from a sharp angle near the goal line at 6:32 of the first period. Chimera tied it at 9:18, redirecting Fedor Tyutin's shot from the left point past Nabokov after a nice combination of down-low and across-the-point passes by Columbus.

Heatley made it 2-1 at 4:17 of the second with his 10th of the season, scoring 8 seconds into Tyutin's tripping penalty. Boyle's point shot hit Patrick Marleau in traffic screening Mason and trickled into the crease where Heatley jammed it home. Marleau stretched his points streak to nine games.

Nash scored from a tight angle shot from the right goal line to make it 2-2 at 16:45.

San Jose outshot Columbus 13-6 in the third period, but the Blue Jackets had the best chance when Samuel Pahlsson hit the right post midway through the period. In overtime, Mason gloved Marleau's shot alone in the slot, and Thornton rang the crossbar with a minute left.

"Mase played well," Nash said. "The special teams was good, and I thought we played a solid game. They are a good team, and I thought we had a good night -- and it's disappointing we didn't get the two points."

Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.

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