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OT finally sweet for SJ
Sturm helps Sharks snap road losing streak
2/14/04 - by Mike Lee

It took them 17 tries to do it, but the Sharks finally won an overtime game this season, pulling it off in dramatic fashion. Marco Sturm's swat with 16.1 seconds remaining in the extra period helped San Jose win in Columbus, breaking a four-game road losing streak. Sturm's shot was the 50th of the evening for the Sharks, a new franchise record. The victory helped push San Jose's lead in the Pacific Division back to six points.

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1 2 3 OT T
SJ 1 0 0 1 2
CBJ 1 0 0 0 1
1st period - CBJ, SANDERSON (9) (SVITOV, ZHERDEV), 03:14 S.J, STUART (3) (KOROLYUK, EKMAN), 15:32
2nd period - NONE
3rd period - NONE
Overtime - S.J, STURM (15) (MARLEAU, STUART), 04:43
1st period - CBJ, SVITOV, 03:57 - Interference S.J, PARKER, 07:26 - Fighting (maj) CBJ, SHELLEY, 07:26 - Fighting (maj) CBJ, LING, 08:06 - Roughing S.J, S.J, 11:05 - Too many men/ice - bench CBJ, JOHNSON, 19:03 - Hi stick
2nd period - S.J, DAMPHOUSSE, 17:31 - Roughing
3rd period - S.J, EKMAN, 07:11 - Hi stick CBJ, LETOWSKI, 10:36 - Hooking - Obstruction
Overtime - S.J, HANNAN, 02:09 - Holding
  Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 24 23
CBJ - Denis 50 48
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
SJ 17 12 16 5 50
CBJ 13 7 4 0 24
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 4
CBJ 0 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Marc Denis
Marco Sturm
Alyn McCauley
Things looked dicey for the Sharks in the 3rd period, even though they outplayed the host Blue Jackets for much of the game. Brad Stuart made a bad turnover in his own zone that resulted in a one-on-one faceoff between Rick Nash, the NHL's leading goal scorer, and Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov. Nash tried lifting a shot past Nabokov's blocker, but the shot clanked off the left post.

Columbus also had a four-on-three power play in the overtime period after Scott Hannan was sent off for a questionable holding penalty. The Sharks diffused that situation and capped a wild ending with Sturm's sixteenth goal of the season. Patrick Marleau set up Sturm's opportunity by driving to the net and trying to jam the puck past Marc Denis, but the Columbus goaltender stuffed Marleau on the goal line. As the puck sat on Denis' outstretched pad, Sturm fought off a check and made one final whack at it from just outside the left side of the net.

The Sharks were lucky to pull off the win after failing on 48 other shots throughout the evening. Geoff Sanderson staked Columbus to a 1-0 lead just three minutes into the game when he stuffed a wraparound attempt past Nabokov after the puck banked off a skater behind the Sharks net. Sanderson wound up with the puck and slid it under Nabokov's left leg for the early lead.

San Jose would rally late in the period and convert off a rebound in the slot. Nils Ekman hit a slashing Alexander Korolyuk with a pass from the left corner, but Denis denied Korolyuk after the Sharks winger tried to one time the shot from in tight. Defenseman Brad Stuart pinched on the play and followed up by banging the puck into an open net.

The Sharks hit double digits on the shot counter in each of the three regulation periods, then added five in the extra frame.

Play of the Game
Stuart's goal restored some faith in the Sharks young blueliner who's had a tough go of things as of late. He smelled out the scoring chance and broke for the goal at the right moment before pouncing on the rebound in the slot.

The Turning Point
Stuart's giveaway early in the 3rd period could have sunk San Jose had Nash converted. Call it divine intervention. Of course the Sharks also rang three shots off the post in the 2nd period alone. Nash scores and the Blue Jackets get to clamp down on the Sharks who were having an impossible time trying to solve Denis.

Save of the Game
Give the pipes all the credit in this game. Without them this is a 4-2 final. Denis deserves credit for his yeoman's effort in net. 48 saves is impressive win or lose, and he frustrated the Sharks offense all evening long. It took San Jose's forwards close to 65 minutes to finally figure things out.

Box Scores Do No Justice
Alyn McCauley had another strong game accounting for six shots on goal (Sturm also had six shots) and buzzing all over the ice. He just missed on a scoring chance in the overtime period during a wild exchange in front of the Blue Jackets net.

Honorable Mention
There was no rematch between Sharks tough guy Scott Parker and Jody Shelly. The two danced twice the last time these two teams squared off, but Shelly seemed disinterested in engaging Parker.

"It was kind of funny because (Marleau's) shot wasn't really hard. The goalie didn't see it at all. It was laying right there, between the posts and his pad. I got lucky that the defenseman didn't see it either and I put it in." - Marco Sturm

"We just tried to keep shooting the puck, keep it wide, put it on net and see what happens. Sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn't. We were lucky enough to score in the final seconds of the game." - Brad Stuart

"We can't play like that. We played like a bunch of individuals tonight. It wasn't a team game. "That's why they deserve to win in overtime. The whole game they dominated, from the 10-minute mark of the first period on. One guy (Denis) scored a point for us tonight." - Columbus interim head coach Gerard Gallant.

Stuart's goal was his first since November 30th.

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