San Jose was on top of their game almost all night long, but Columbus’ Steve Mason was threatening to ruin a tremendous all-around effort by the home club. The Blue Jackets netminder had run his shutout streak to 148 plus minutes against the Sharks and had almost singlehandedly kept his club in the game, but San Jose kept charging like the cavalry and eventually found the tying and winning goals in the third period.
“It’s good to win a game like that,” said Joe Pavelski
, who potted the winning tally. “It feels right.”
San Jose once again called upon their special teams play, but it was the defensive side of things that likely enabled the comeback to even happen. A double minor to Brad Staubitz provided Columbus with four minutes of power play time near the end of the first. When the four minutes concluded, the bigger question was how the Sharks didn’t score with several excellent chances, including on by Joe Thornton
that skated along the goal line, but did not go in.
The power play eventually caught up with the penalty kill success later in the game and San Jose earned eight chances.
“We hadn’t worked hard enough in the offensive zone to earn calls. The last two nights we did,” said Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan.
Still, even with the four minute power play, the first period ended scoreless and San Jose had outshot Columbus 13-5. For the game, they outshot the Jackets 44-22.
San Jose simply refused to let Mason bother them, and did not feel frustrated during the contest.
“Not when we win, it’s satisfying,” said Pavelski of any possible frustration. “When you’re in the right mindset, you’re not frustrated until after the game.”
The Sharks did not simply post easy shots from the outside, but rather hammered away at Mason with multiple quality opportunities from all directions.
“There was a lot of traffic and that’s how we score goals,” said Pavelski.
For the game winner, Ryane Clowe
started the play driving down the wing and Pavelski recovered the puck, skated around to the far side of the net and lifted the shot home.
“It just felt like no one was getting back up,” said Pavelski of the Blue Jackets defense.
The tying goal came because the Sharks capitalized on one of the eight power plays they earned.
“(We) made it hard o them as a team and earned the power plays,” said Rob Blake.
In the end, it was simply a matter of time before the dam that was in front of the Sharks broke.
In the first period Brad Staubitz and Jared Boll had a big time fight. Boll may have landed the biggest blow as he cut Staubitz at one point, but Staubitz was very impressive as he in turn landed some of his best punches after being cut under his eye.
San Jose’s victory was reminiscent of their third period comeback against Montreal on Thursday.
“He (Mason) played well, similar to Price,” said Heatley. “Both are big butterfly guys. He kept them on top, but we kept coming.”
SHARKS HEAD COACH TODD McLELLAN
“I’m happy that we got the two points. I am happy that we won. I am quite pleased with the game. It is hard to win in this league. It doesn’t matter who you are playing.”
“Some of the teams that are considered to be out of the playoff race, often are tougher to play against because they are playing for jobs, they have got some youth in their lineup and they are a hungry group. So it is not going to be an easy road by any means.”
“Everybody will take tomorrow off and then we will get three good practices in. After that it is play, practice, play, practice. Trust me, those practices as the year goes on get shorter and shorter. So you get less time to battle and compete.”
COLUMBUS HEAD COACH CLAUDE NOEL
“I thought our team played really hard. That’s a tough team we played. You can see why they are at the top of the league every year. They win battles and races to the puck. I thought (Steve) Mason was our best player, but I thought everyone gave their all and I’m really proud of our players.”
“The type of pressure that they put on in the third period makes you do things that you don’t want to do. We knew it was coming. They have good players who have experience.”
“We’ve got 17 games left and we are trying to learn and get better every game. The higher the competition, the more you learn. We are really disappointed in the loss because we thought that was a game we could have won. You can’t give them power play chances because eventually they are going to come back and bite you.”
The Sharks will host Nashville Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The game will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.