for this game

Sharks rally to nip Blue Jackets

Feb 10, 2011 - 3:58 AM
Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - Patrick Marleau scored the game-winning goal late in regulation, as the San Jose Sharks erased a two-goal deficit and defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-2, at Nationwide Arena.

Kent Huskins and Kyle Wellwood also scored for the streaking Sharks, who have come to life after a shaky start to the season. San Jose has now won five straight and nine of their last 10 games overall.

Antti Niemi was strong with 42 saves in the winning effort.

"To come back in that fashion was nice, and our goaltender played a huge part in that," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. "We'll take the win, but obviously there are areas that we were not happy with."

Grant Clitsome and Kristian Huselius scored for Columbus, which saw its three- game win streak halted. Steve Mason allowed three goals on 32 shots in the loss.

With the score tied and the clock dwindling in the third period, the Sharks grabbed the lead for good on Marleau's 20th goal of the season. Strong puck control along the rear boards by Joe Pavelski allowed him to maintain possession for an extended stretch before he passed to Marleau.

From a sharp angle inside the lower left circle, Marleau's wrist shot somehow found room between Mason and the near post and it trickled over the goal line with 4:51 remaining.

"It looked like we didn't have the energy in the second and third periods," said Huselius. "When you get tired, you make mental errors, and that's what happened -- we couldn't come back after that."

The Blue Jackets scored twice on the power play in the first period.

Near the midpoint of the opening stanza, with Dany Heatley in the penalty box for interference, Huselius fired a wrister from the right circle through a screen and the disc flew under the pads of Niemi at the 9:35 mark.

With only nine seconds to go before the first intermission, the hosts moved ahead by two. Sharks enforcer Ben Eager was off for a cross-checking minor and Clitsome's slap shot from the left circle lit the lamp.

"(To fall behind) was certainly not our plan by any means," said McLellan. "In the first period, we weren't alert and we weren't very competitive."

Before two minutes had elapsed in the second period, San Jose sliced its deficit in half when a soft wrister from the left point by Huskins caught Mason -- who was partially screened -- off guard at 1:56.

Later in the second, at 13:39, the Sharks created a 2-2 tie via Wellwood's rebound tally from the low slot. Mason was out of position beyond the left post in an attempt to swipe the puck out of harm's way, but the disc was deflected directly to Wellwood for an easy deposit into the open net.

Game Notes

Niemi stopped 28 total shots over the final two periods...Pavelski posted two assists...It was the 12th goal of the season for Huselius...Since their six- game losing streak in early January, the Sharks have earned at least one point in each of the last 10 (9-0-1)... San Jose's current seven-game road trip continues in New Jersey on Friday, when Columbus will Colorado...The teams split the four-game season series...San Jose was 0-for-3 on the power play, while the hosts ended 2-for-4 with the extra skater.