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Sharks sneak past Columbus in shootout

Adam Burish, Corey Tropp

San Jose's Adam Burish, right, checks Columbus' Corey Tropp during the second period of the Sharks' 4-3 road win over the Blue Jackets in a shootout on Thursday. AP photo

By
From page B8 | March 14, 2014 |

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The talk in the San Jose locker room was about the save at the end of regulation that got them one point. Backup goalie Alex Stalock followed that by improving to 3-0 in shootouts in his career and not allowing a goal in 10 attempts to help get the other point.

On the offensive side, Patrick Marleau scored twice and Joe Pavelski had the lone shootout goal in the Sharks’ 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.

“Huge save with three or four seconds left,” said San Jose coach Todd McLellan. “I thought he was very solid.”

Stalock finished with 35 saves — including 15 in the second period — and the one getting all the raves was a spectacular post-to-post stop on Jack Johnson late and Columbus on the power play.

“It was a puck you have to play and get over to,” Stalock said. “My job was to recover and get over there.”

After tying his career high of 66 points with an assist on Marleau’s second goal, Pavelski deked Sergei Bobrovsky and roofed a backhander in the shootout to give San Jose its fourth straight win.

Marleau scored his 27th and 28th goals and Matt Nieto also scored for the Sharks, who are 8-1-1 in their last 10 to move into a tie with Anaheim for the Pacific Division lead. Logan Couture had two assists.

“It feels good to be right up there,” Marleau said. “It’s not going to be easy the rest of the season.”

Ryan Johansen, R. J. Umberger and James Wisniewski scored for the Blue Jackets, who wanted more but will gladly take the point in the congested race for an Eastern Conference playoff spot. Brandon Dubinsky added two assists for Columbus, 17-7-2 since Jan. 1.

“We got a point (Thursday), would have loved to have gotten two,” said Columbus coach Todd Richards. “But you look at the way the team played. I thought we played a hard game against a very good hockey team, a fast hockey team.”

After squandering a 2-1 lead early in the third period, the Blue Jackets tied it on Wisniewski’s slap shot into the top left corner from the right circle with 4:58 remaining.

“That team plays hard,” McLellan said. “They are as competitive as there is in the league. They’re physical. They have good body position when they enter the zone, throw a lot of pucks at the net.”

San Jose had scored twice just under six minutes into the period to take the lead on a few uncharacteristic plays by Bobrovsky.

Only 15 seconds in, Bobrovksy gave up a long rebound and the puck sat in the slot before Nieto easily fired it home.

Later on a San Jose power play, Columbus couldn’t convert on a two-on-one leading to a 4-on-2 for the San Jose. Pavelski fed Marleau, with Bobrovsky a bit too deep in his net. The man-advantage goal was the first for the Sharks in its last seven games.

“Hopefully, that’s the one that does it,” Marleau said about improving the team’s power-play production. “It was on the rush but we’ll take it.”

Johansen opened the scoring at 5:28 of the first period with his 26th. Johansen snapped home a loose puck from between the circles through traffic.

Marleau tied it 5 minutes later on a sequence jump-started by poor puck management by defenseman David Savard. Logan Couture got the puck and centered it from the right boards to an open Marleau at the crease for the one timer.

In the second period, the Blue Jackets quickly got into penalty trouble, giving the Sharks a two-man advantage for 36 seconds. But it was the Blue Jackets who capitalized. After the first penalty expired, Umberger stepped out of the box, took a long pass in stride from Dubinsky and beat Stalock between the pads for his 18th.

“I think we stuck with it,” McLellan said. “The shorthanded goal with the guy coming out of the box took a little bit of zip out of us. But between periods we talked about getting to the blue paint, getting an opportunity to score on a second chance.”

Notes: Columbus’ Artem Anisimov, who has six goals in his last seven games, didn’t play due to birth of his first child Thursday. … San Jose is 19-6-3 against Eastern Conference teams. … Blue Jackets right wing Nathan Horton donated 1,000 tickets for “first responders” to attend the game. … Columbus Russian defender Fedor Tyutin took the morning skate and is getting close to returning from an ankle injury he suffered in the Olympics.

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