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Rissmiller leads home charge
Another strong showing leads to win
1/5/08 - by Mike Lee

Home hasn't been so kind to the Sharks this season, but their second consecutive strong effort paid dividends on Saturday night. An up tempo pace, combined with scoring from an unlikely source helped propel San Jose to a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at HP Pavilion. Patrick Rissmiller scored two goals to help pace San Jose to its first win on home ice since December 13th. The win also moved the Sharks into sole possession of 1st place in the Pacific Division.

The Sharks jumped out to a 3-0 lead, before letting Columbus slip back into the game with a pair of 3rd period goals.

Rissmiller gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead 1:29 into the 2nd period, after deflecting a Matt Carle shot past Blue Jackets goaltender Pascal Leclair. Carle cranked a shot from the left point that Leclair seemed to have a bead on, but Rissmiller changed the trajectory of the puck with his stick.

After the Carle goal, the Sharks smelled blood. Jonathan Cheechoo pushed the puck across the front of the goal mouth, but Leclaire was able to corral it, while the Columbus defensive corps went head hunting.

Steve Bernier would convert 2 minutes after Carle's goal on a weird bounce. Milan Michalek floated the puck into the Blue Jackets zone ahead of Columbus defenseman Jan Hejda, but the puck stopped where it landed. Hejda over-skated the puck, but a trailing Bernier scooped it up and whipped a shoat past Leclair after doing a three-quarter spin in the slot.

With Jonathan Cheechoo in the penalty box for high sticking, Rick Nash missed on a golden opportunity after racing around Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Nash whipped around the right win and put a shot on goal from point blank range, but Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov gloved the scoring chance.

Columbus head coach Ken Hitchcock would pull Leclair the 2nd & 3rd periods, replacing him with Fredrik Norrena. That move would prove fruitless, as the Sharks would score less than 3 minutes into the final period.

Rissmiller would put his 4th goal of the season past Norrena, one timing a Joe Pavelski pass from the slot. Pavelski grabbed a loose puck near the Columbus end boards, raced around the back of the Blue Jackets net, then skated out toward the inside of the left circle. Headed away from the net, Pavelski slipped the puck to Rissmiller as the two passed each other in opposing directions.

Andrew Murray cut the Sharks lead to 3-1 at 8:21 of the period, by squeezing a shot past Nabokov from a severe angle. Murray grabbed the puck behind the Sharks net, then threw it on net from the right corner. The puck found a gap between Nabokov's left skate and the right post.

Jeremy Roenick would get sent off for cross checking less than 30 seconds later, which would tilt the ice in Columbus' favor. Sergei Federov would convert on the ensuing power play, stuffing a shot through Nabokov's pads. Rick Nash fired a shot that hit Nabokov in the chest, but dropped to his feet. Federov swooped in an chipped the loose puck into the net for this 54th point in 50 games against San Jose.

Hitchcock would pull Norrena for another skater with a minute to play, and Bernier came within an inch of scoring his second goal of the night. After skating across the red line, Bernier backhanded the puck toward the empty net, but it bounced off the post on the fly.

Nabokov would finish the game with 21 saves to earn his 23rd win of the season.

Game Notes:

Rob Davison and Sandis Ozolinsh were both scratched for the 2nd consecutive game.

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1 2 3 T
CBJ 0 0 2 2
SJ 0 2 1 3
1st period - None
2nd period - 1, SJ, Rissmiller 3 (Carle, Rivet), 1:29. 2, SJ, Bernier 11 (Michalek, McLaren), 3:31.
3rd period - 3, SJ, Rissmiller 4 (Pavelski), 2:28. 4, CBJ, Murray 2 (Fritsche, Hainsey), 8:21. 5, CBJ, Federov 8 (Nash, Lindstrom), 10:35, (pp).
1st period - Federov, CBJ (hooking), 1:48.
2nd period - Cheechoo, SJ (high sticking), 5:03; Ehrhoff, SJ (holding), 9:35.
3rd period - Roenick, SJ (cross checking), 9:07.
Shots Saves
CBJ - Leclaire 15 13
CBJ - Norrena 4 3
SJ - Nabokov 23 21
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
CBJ 6 9 8 23
SJ 4 11 4 19
Power Play Conversion
CBJ 1 of 3
SJ 0 of 1
3 Stars of the Game
Patrick Rissmiller
Joe Pavelski
Matt Carle
Referees: Paul Devorski, Tom Kowal. Linesmen: Darren Gibbs, Vaughan Rody.

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