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Toskala returns to blank Jackets
35 save shutout extends win streak to 4
3/16/07 - by Mike Lee

Vesa Toskala got the nod in net for the first time in over a month and showed no signs of rust in a 35 save shutout performance over the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets. Joe Thornton, Ryane Clowe and Scott Hannan scored for San Jose. The victory was the 44th of the season, tying a franchise record for wins in a season.

Toskala got the call in net because the Sharks played in Phoenix the night before, and Nabokov has carried the load in goal for the past month in Toskala's absence. Sharks head coach indicated that he would rotate goaltender's on back to back games next week.

The record book also needed revision after Toskala's shutout. The Sharks netminder recorded his 4th goose egg of the season, which combined with Evgeni Nabokov's 7 shutouts set a new franchise mark for team shutouts in a season.

Thornton staked the Sharks to a 1-0 lead on his 19th goal of the season. Thornton cut through the slot from the right wing boards as Craig Rivet sent a centering pass from the right point. Thornton gathered Rivet's pass and swept a 30-foot shot toward the net, bouncing it off the right post and into the net.

Rick Nash opened the 2nd period by ringing a shot off the post moments after Mark Bell missed on a one-timer at the other end of the rink. The period turned physical with back and forth exchanges of big hits by both teams.

Clowe would pad the lead to 2-0 on a wrister from the top of the right circle that seemed to fool Norrena. Clowe's shot seemed to hop off the ice right as it got to Norrena, skipping over the Blue Jackets stick.

Toskala capped the period with key saves as time expired on a pair of shots from in close.

An ill-advised penalty by Steve Bernier with just over two remaining in regulation. Blue Jackets head coach Ken Hitchcock pulled Norrena in favor of the two-man advantage. The Sharks worked off the first minute of the penalty, then Scott Hannan out-muscled Rick Nash for the puck behind the Sharks net before sending a shot the length of the ice for the short-handed empty-netter.


Mike Grier was out of the lineup to be with his wife Anne, who gave birth to the couple's second child on Friday. The couple's first daughter was named Brooklyn Kendall.

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1 2 3 T
CBJ 0 0 0 0
SJ 1 1 1 3
1st period - 1, SJ, Thornton 19 (Rivet, Michalek), 16:58.
2nd period - 2, SJ, Clowe 16 (Ceechoo, Pavelski), 18:54.
3rd period - 3, SJ, Hannan 2 (Michalek), 19:21, (sh, en).
1st period - Nash, CBJ (hooking), 3:59; Federov, CBJ (hooking), 10:27.
2nd period - Methot, CBJ (hooking), 2:06; Cheechoo, SJ (slashing), 2:52; Guerin, SJ (high sticking), 5:17; Chimera, CBJ (hooking), 7:50.
3rd period - Svitov, CBJ (high sticking), 6:01; Brule, CBJ (high sticking), 14:21; Bernier, SJ (holding), 17:50.
  Shots Saves
CBJ - Norrena 23 21
CBJ - empty net10
SJ - Toskala 35 35
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
CBJ 7 15 13 35
SJ 6 11 7 24
Power Play Conversion
CBJ 0 of 4
SJ 0 of 6
3 Stars of the Game
Vesa Toskala
Jonathan Cheechoo
Scott Hannan
Referees: Paul Devorski, Tom Kowal. Linesmen: Brad Lazarowich, Thor Nelson.

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