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Sharks Seal Off Columbus At Home, 3-2

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks

SAN JOSE, Calif -- Patrick Rissmiller led the Sharks with back-to-back goals in San Jose's 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets at HP Pavilion on Saturday. The win snapped the Sharks five-game home losing streak and placed them atop the Pacific Division with 52 points.

Evgeni Nabokov made 23 saves in his 41st consecutive start in goal and held the Blue Jackets scoreless until 8:21 of the third period. Columbus' Pascal Leclaire made 15 saves and allowed two goals in two periods of play before being replaced by Fredrik Norrena, who stopped four shots and allowed one goal.

Team Teal earned the first power play of the night when Sergei Fedorov tripped up Marc-Edouard Vlasic. San Jose came close to scoring when Torrey Mitchell broke in behind the defense, but he couldn’t quite pull the puck around on Leclaire. Nabokov had to stop a two-on-one rush led by Manny Malhotra, but the Sharks netminder covered his angle and gobbled up the attempt.

Offensive sparks were few and far between in the first as the two clubs combined for just 10 shots in the scoreless first period.

Just a minute and a half into the middle period, the Sharks broke the goose egg on the scoreboard. Matt Carle gathered the puck at his offensive blueline and fired on net. Patrick Rissmiller was parked in front of Leclaire, deflected the puck, and the Columbus netminder had no chance to stop the goal.

Two minutes later the score moved to 2-0. This time Steve Bernier beat a Columbus defender to a loose puck in the offensive zone to begin the play. As he gained position, Bernier quickly spun around to his forehand and fired from the slot, finding the far side of the net.

San Jose killed off a penalty immediately following the goal and maintained control of the contest, leading 2-0 midway through.

There were 20 shots in the second period compared to 10 in the first for the two clubs, but San Jose had both tallies and took their 2-0 lead into the lockerroom.

Blue Jackets Head Coach Ken Hitchcock inserted netminder Fredrik Norrena to start the third in hopes of jumpstarting his club.

It didn’t work as San Jose scored goal number three two and a half minutes into the third. Joe Pavelski jumped on a turnover and fed Rissmiller low in the slot. He quickly released his shot and it was a 3-0 Sharks advantage.

Sharks right wing Jonathan Cheechoo has his shot blocked by Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Pascal Leclaire on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2008. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Columbus would finally post their first goal courtesy of Andrew Murray. The Blue Jackets center carried the puck behind Nabokov and came out the other side. He threw what seemed to be a harmless shot on net and it somehow snuck across the line.

The contest truly got interesting when Columbus posted a power play goal near the period’s midway point. Rick Nash redirected a shot that Nabokov stopped, but the puck laid loose under him and Fedorov shoved into the net. San Jose’s three-goal lead was down to two with 10 minutes to go.

With one minute remaining, Columbus pulled Norrena for the extra attacker. When the Blue Jackets attacked the Sharks with their sixth skater, Bernier broke up the play and sent the puck up and over the defense at the open goal. After skipping on the ice, the puck hit off the post, to the dismay of the sold out crowd.

The Sharks defense held on and San Jose defeated the Blue Jackets, 3-2, for their first home win at HP Pavilion since December 13.




The Sharks will continue their four-game home stand when they play hosts to the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday, January 10 at 7:30 PM (Pacific). The game will be broadcast on FSN in High Definition, KFOX 98.5 FM, Sharks Radio Affiliates, and

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