for this game

Toskala sets Sharks record with 12th straight win

Oct 24, 2006 - 1:39 AM COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- It was only appropriate that Vesa Toskala was flawless on a night he made it a perfect dozen.

Toskala made 23 saves as the Sharks opened a four-game road trip with a crisp 3-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

It was the fifth career shutout and first this season for Toskala, who improved to 5-0-0 on the campaign and has won a franchise-record 12 straight regular-season decisions, dating to last season.

"The team has been playing well all of those games and I feel comfortable on the ice," Toskala said. "I see the puck well and I just enjoy every second I am on the ice and it feels good. ... Half of those games were at the end of last season and they were big games when we were fighting for a playoff spot. That's not my goal to break any records, but it is still nice."

Toskala made nine saves in the first and four in the second before turning aside 10 shots in the third, including Manny Malhotra's blast from the right circle with 6:18 remaining.

"He's been playing great and making all of the saves we need him to make," San Jose defenseman Scott Hannan said.

Sharks coach Ron Wilson knows he has quite a luxury in Toskala and Evgeni Nabokov, who already has posted two shutouts in his four starts this season.

"(Toskala) has been playing real well for us this year and he gives us a chance to win every time he is on the ice," Wilson said. "Each of our goalies are playing well and it just makes us that much better."

Steve Bernier opened the scoring with a power-play goal 2:24 into the contest and Jonathan Cheechoo doubled the lead with a man-advantage tally of his own 3:15 into the middle session.

The Sharks have scored a league-leading 16 power-play goals this season, a big reason they have won seven of their first nine games.

"Things have been clicking (on the man advantage)," said Cheechoo, who is tied for the team lead with four power-play goals. "Our defense has been getting involved and that's creating a lot more chances. I think two units that have been playing well and interchanging keeps things fresh and gives us an advantage."

Marcel Goc made it 3-0 less than two minutes later, beating goaltender Pascal Leclaire on a rebound from the slot.

Leclaire finished with 29 saves for Columbus, which went 0-for-7 on the power play to drop to 2-for-28 during its four-game losing streak.

"We played against a good hockey team. San Jose is a good hockey team, but there is no reason for that to happen to us," Blue Jackets coach Gerard Gallant said. "They made us look bad out there. They embarrassed us."

Columbus, which fell to 6-12-2 all-time against San Jose, does have three days off before hosting Los Angeles on Friday.

"It doesn't matter who we are playing," Blue Jackets defenseman Adam Foote said. "We have to play a smarter hockey game and stay out of the penalty box."

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