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Sharks Dispatch Columbus, 4-2

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks

COLUMBUS, Ohio – After dropping the first three decisions on their current eight-game road trip, the Sharks responded by winning their third straight game, defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-2, at Nationwide Arena on Wednesday night.

San Jose welcomed a new addition to their lineup as two-time All-Star defenseman Brian Campbell made his Sharks debut. Campbell, who wore his familiar No. 51, was acquired on Tuesday along with a seventh round selection in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for right wing Steve Bernier and a first round selection in 2008.



Campbell’s impact was felt immediately as the blueliner was nearly credited with an assist on the game’s first goal. After Blue Jackets defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen was whistled for hooking just 6:26 into the first, the Sharks new-look power play set up in the Columbus zone.

As San Jose gained control of the puck, Campbell moved the puck to Joe Thornton in his usual spot on the half-boards. Thornton then made a precision cross-ice pass to Joe Pavelski who one-timed the puck towards the Columbus net. Standing in front and redirecting the puck was Jonathan Cheechoo, who gave the Sharks the 1-0 lead at 7:28 of the first, as he extended his goal-scoring streak to four games.

Columbus would respond quickly, tying the game with 5:04 left in the first. Douglas Murray was sent off for elbowing, giving the Blue Jackets the man advantage. Just six seconds after Murray’s penalty expired, Columbus’ David Vyborny tipped the puck into a wide open net, making it 1-1. For Vyborny, it was his first goal in 25 games.

The two teams closed out the first tied at 1-1.

Déjà vu struck the Sharks in the early stages of the second when Vyborny scored his second goal of the game, again putting the puck into an open net. An innocent looking point shot by Jan Hejda was blocked but landed right on Vyborny’s stick as he wasted no time making it a 2-1 game.

The Sharks showed some bounce back, tying the game less than three minutes after they surrendered the lead. Torrey Mitchell deflected a Matt Carle point shot in past Pascal Leclaire to knot the game at 2-2. Mike Grier also earned an assist for his work on the half boards.

Shortly after Mitchell tied the game, a strange sequence involving Campbell and Rick Nash, both of whom were All-Stars this year in Atlanta, would lead to a San Jose power play. Nash moved in and tried to finish his hit on Campbell who side stepped the check.

Then, seemingly unprovoked, Nash took an undisciplined roughing minor when he dropped the gloves and began punching Campbell. Murray jumped in and attempted to pull Nash off his defensive partner as the linesmen separated the play.

Columbus Blue Jackets' Fredrik Modin, right, of Sweden, tries to steal the puck from San Jose Sharks' Brian Campbell during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
On the ensuing power play, Jeremy Roenick made Nash pay for his penalty, scoring his 505th career NHL goal on a brilliant feed by Thornton. The play began at the point with Craig Rivet on his off-side. The defenseman moved the puck cross-ice to Thornton, who sent the return feed to Roenick who one-timed the puck in for the 3-2 lead with 6:03 to play in the second.

On the faceoff following Roenick’s goal, Columbus forward Jared Boll squared off with Murray as the two exchanged punches. Murray earned the decision and each player earned five minutes for fighting.

Columbus earned a golden opportunity when Jason Chimera snuck in behind Craig Rivet on a mini-breakaway, but Evgeni Nabokov denied Chimera with a steady left-pad save. Rivet however was whistled for hooking Chimera on the play, sending the Blue Jackets on their second power play of the game.

San Jose killed Rivet’s penalty, preserving the 3-2 lead before expanding it to 4-2 with 1:08 remaining in the second frame. Campbell and Captain Patrick Marleau stood up the Columbus attack at the red line, springing Joe Pavelski and Tomas Plihal on a two-on-one.

Pavelski looked to move the puck over to Plihal, but instead directed the puck into the Columbus net with his pass that deflected off the defender’s skate and in.

Campbell’s first point as a member of the Sharks helped San Jose to a 4-2 lead after two periods of play.

The Sharks played a strong, defensive-minded third period, stalling any comeback hopes the Blue Jackets may have had. With 7:47 remaining in regulation, Campbell nailed Gibert Brule with a solid open-ice hit, as the newest Shark had his entire skill set on display.

San Jose held on for the 4-2 victory, their third straight, pulling to an even 3-3 mark through six of the eight games on the current road trip.

NOTES
With his first period goal, right wing Jonathan Cheechoo has now scored 14 goals in his last 19 games. Cheechoo scored five goals in his first 37 games of the season… Left wing Jody Shelley was recognized during the game’s first television timeout with a video montage on the arena’s scoreboard display. Shelley, a fan favorite during his time in Columbus, spent parts of seven seasons as a member of the Blue Jackets… Center Curtis Brown, who is currently on injured reserve with a hand injury, stopped by the Sharks TV set during the third period and offered additional color commentary alongside Randy Hahn and Drew Remenda… Defenseman Brian Campbell logged a team-high 24:34 of ice time, including 5:10 while on the power play.

LINEUP
Michalek – Thornton – Cheechoo
Plihal – Marleau – Pavelski
Rissmiller – Mitchell – Grier
Shelley – Goc – Roenick

Campbell – Murray
Carle – Rivet
Ehrhoff – Vlasic

Nabokov – Boucher

NEXT GAME

The Sharks continue their season-long eight-game road trip on Friday when they travel to Detroit to take on the NHL-leading Red Wings. The game is set for 4:30 p.m. (Pacific) and will be broadcast on FSN Bay Area, KFOX 98.5 FM, Sharks Radio Network Affiliates and SJSHARKS.com.
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