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Thornton Clutch in OT, Sharks Win 2-1

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- San Jose and Columbus hooked up Friday night for the first time since Jody Shelley was traded to San Jose. Kyle McLaren returned to the lineup and Evgeni Nabokov and Fredrik Norrena manned the nets.



Strong forechecking by the Sharks line of Marcel Goc, Jeremy Roenick and Shelley resulted in an early lead two and a half minutes in. Roenick prevented the breakout and forced Rick Nash into a turnover, Shelley prevented Nash from reacquiring the puck and Goc pounced on it in the slot. Goc, who was playing his first game since January 17, wasted no time in firing the puck on net and it was across the line before Norrena could react.

Halfway into the first Nabokov made a stellar stop on Columbus’ Jason Chimera during a breakaway. Flying up ice, Michael Peca dished the puck to him at full speed heading across the blueline, leaving Chimera all alone with the Sharks All-Star netminder. Nabokov attacked Chimera on the play and left little room for a move, eliminating the attack.

16 minutes into the first, San Jose had just two shots to the Blue Jackets 10, but their 50 percent shooting percentage had them in the lead.

With 3:22 to go in the first, a scrap broke out between Craig Rivet and Chimera. Rivet landed a couple of punches while the two were tied up, but then unloaded with two big lefts that knocked the Columbus forward to the ice.

A Columbus turnover with 10 seconds remaining in period one gave Torrey Mitchell the puck just above the hashmarks, but his shot sailed just wide and the period concluded with Team Teal still leading 1-0.

Columbus was controlling the offensive flow during the early portions of the second period, but Nabokov was outstanding on the Blue Jackets two top scoring chances and the lead was preserved.

When Team Teal went on the power play, it was Chimera with the best offensive effort, but Nabokov stoned the forward on a breakaway for a second time.

Blue Jackets goalie Fredrik Norrena looks back as Joe Thorntons shot beats him in overtime. Feb. 8, 2008. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
A battle for a loose puck in the Blue Jackets offensive zone led to chaos out front and Milan Michalek was called for covering the puck in the crease and a penalty shot was awarded. Blue Jackets Head Coach Ken Hitchcock sent out Nash to even the score, but Nabokov made the poke check and then as the puck was still sliding toward the goal line, he blocked it with his pad.

Columbus was set up on a four-on-three power play late in the second when Michael Peca fell to the ice with a light tap of Rivet’s stick, but Nabokov turned away those chances as well.

San Jose trailed in shots 26-5 through two periods, but still clung to the 1-0 lead.

The shot differential caught up with the Sharks when Chimera was finally rewarded for his offensive efforts. After finding Michael Peca moving up the ice, Chimera charged toward the net. Peca tracked down the loose puck and fed it to the crease where Chimera was there for the redirect.

With five minutes remaining in regulation, the Sharks unleashed a barrage of shot on Norrena, but Finnish netminder turned away two close shots and the game remained tied.

After six minutes of regulation, the Sharks and Blue Jackets headed to overtime. At 1:35, Rissmiller was hauled down infront of the Blue Jackets net and the Sharks earned a four-on-three power play. Fourteen seconds into the man advantage, Joe Thornton fired a shot past Norrena to win the game 2-1 in overtime.

LINES
Michalek-Thornton-Cheechoo
Plihal-Marleau-Mitchell
Rissmiller-Pavelski-Grier
Shelley-Goc-Roenick

Carle-Rivet
Ozolinsh-Vlasic
McLaren-Ehrhoff

Nabokov-Patzold

NEXT GAME
San Jose will play the Nashville Predators on Saturday night at HP Pavilion in a 7 p.m. faceoff. Limited tickets are still available at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The contest will be aired on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.
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