San Jose sharp coming out of break, tops Jackets


JOSE – Scoring at least six goals for the third time in 48 games,
San Jose powered past the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-0 Tuesday night
at sold-out HP Pavilion.

The Sharks host
the Dallas Stars Thursday before visiting the Phoenix Coyotes
Saturday night. San Jose solidified its hold on the Pacific
Division lead, moving to 62 points, four ahead of runner-up Los

Antti Niemi
recorded his 17th shut-out in a 140-game NHL career,
posting 30 saves.

Both teams had
not played for one week, but San Jose showed the superior play in
the hectic first period. As much as the 18-11 edge in shots on net
told the tale, the San Jose front-line players exhibited timely
patience in taking a 2-0 lead into the first

Patrick Marleau
came into Tuesday’s game tied with Joe Pavelski for second among
Sharks goal-scorers for the season.

With 7:53 gone in
the first period, Marleau struck for his 18th goal of
the year and 375th for his career. Marleau was in the
low slot when teammate Justin Braun powered a low shot from the
high slot toward Columbus goaltender Steve Mason. The netminder was
able to stop the shot, but the puck dribbled toward the right post
as Marleau skated into position. Marleau pulled the puck away from
Mason, then calmly jabbed the puck over Mason’s left leg to give
the hosts a 1-0 lead.

Although Joe
Thornton’s goal at 9:43 of the first was called an unassisted one,
Andrew Desjardins helped to make Thornton’s ninth of the season a
reality. As Blue Jacket defenseman Fedor Tyutin tried to control
the puck along the right boards in the Columbus zone, a hard check
by Desjardins left the puck rolling across the right circle.
Thornton sped to the puck, then lined a shot on net that Mason
kicked aside. Thornton slipped by defenseman Aaron Johnson before
retrieving the rebound and directing a shot inside the left post
past Mason.

Joe Pavelski,
after giving Marleau almost one period to be second among San Jose
goal-scorers by himself, posted his 18th of the season
3:48 into the second period.

Jacket Derek
Mackenzie dropped his broken stick at 3:28 of the second. Mackenzie
was in the low slot attempting to stop a Shark power play when
Pavelski’s low shot from inside the blueline skimmed off
Mackenzie’s leg and inside the left post for a 3-0 San Jose

A face-off win by
Michal Handzus in the Columbus zone ignited a three-second scoring
play for a 4-0 San Jose cushion.

skillfully pulled the face-off puck back to defenseman Douglas
Murray before moving toward the net. Murray’s shot was blocked by
Mason but the rebound went wide toward an unmarked Jamie McGinn.
The forward snapped a 15-footer behind Mason for his
10th goal of the season, giving the Sharks four
goal-scorers in double figures.

Murray’s 50th career
assist was only part of the milestone numbers set by San Jose
against Columbus. Murray was playing in is 400th career
game, Brent Burns in 500 and Dan Boyle in 800.

Handzus and
McGinn combined to net the Sharks’ fifth goal 1:54 into the third

As Jacket center
Antoine Vermette skated with the puck across the Columbus crease, a
trailing McGinn slapped at the puck and sent it off Mason. Handzus
gained control of the rebound and put the puck past Mason for his
fourth goal of the season.

Thornton finished with three points
for the night when he scored at the end of a 3-on-2 rush at 10:54
of the third period.

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