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How Swede it is!
Sharks win Stockholm opener 3-2
10/8/10 - By Mike Lee -

It wasn’t a masterpiece, but the Sharks kicked off the 2010-11 NHL season with a tight 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday. Kicking off the season in Stockholm, Sweden at the Ericsson Globe Arena, the Sharks introduced several new faces to the lineup. Goaltender Antti Niemi made his Sharks debut and didn’t disappoint with a 30 save performance to earn his first victory in teal.

San Jose jumped out to a nice two-goal lead early in the contest, then stumbled later in the period. They would win the game with a 3rd period power play goal. Between all the scoring the rust showed itself on both sides of the puck. San Jose would finish the evening 2-for-6 on the power play, but they would provide Columbus with ample opportunities by taking plenty of penalties themselves.

Torrey Mitchell broke the ice with a wraparound goal that slipped between Columbus netminder Steve Mason’s left skate and the right post 2:11 into the contest. Mitchell had to backhand the puck around the post, essentially drawing back toward him as he skated from the end boards.

San Jose would get into penalty trouble later in period, when Dany Heatley would be sent off for holding the stick. Niclas Wallin would follow Heatley for slashing right before the first penalty expired.

Douglas Murray would draw a tripping penalty on Derek Dorsett at 10:25 of the period after Dorsett retaliated for bone jarring hit by the Sharks defenseman. The Sharks would take advantage of the indiscretion 32 seconds later, when newly named captain Joe Thornton snapped a shot passed Mason after carrying the puck across the blueline. Niemi was credited with an assist on the play, earning his first point as a Shark.

Mitchell would take a bad high sticking penalty with 3:29 to play in the period, and it served as a lightning rod for the Blue Jackets. Kristian Huselius would convert on the ensuing power play after a Nikita Filatov shot deflected to the bottom of the right face off circle. Huselius gathered the puck and lifted a shot over Niemi to cut the Sharks lead in half.

That lead would evaporate 15 second later, when Marc-Edouard Vlasic was stripped of the puck on breakout chance along the right wing boards. After picking Vlasic’s pocket, Ethan Moreau drove to the net and put a shot on goal. The rebound kicked out to R.J. Umberger in the slot for the quick put back.

The Sharks dodged a bullet early in the 2nd period when Rick Nash missed on a wrap-around attempt after Heatley was sent off for cross checking. The puck skipped through the crease, hitting an unsuspecting Niemi in the left pad before being swept away by a Sharks defenseman.

Both teams failed to generate much in terms of legitimate offensie chances the remainder of the period. They would combine for 8 minor penalties, which really killed any flow that either team tried to establish.

The sharks appeared to be headed to a power play chance early in the 3rd period after Wallin was tripped, but referee Eric Furlatt called a diving penalty on the Sharks defenseman. Samuel Pahlsson would draw a tripping minor on the same play, confusing everyone in the building.

Jamie McGinn would get a scare early in the 3rd period after crashing awkwardly into the boards head first, after Mike Commodore disrupted his line to the puck. McGinn would skate off on his own power, but Commodore would earn a trip to the box for boarding.

The Sharks would get the go-ahead goal on the ensuing power play with 9:45 to play. Logan Couture would take a feed from Clowe in the high slot, before circling toward the left dot and rifling a shot past Mason for his 1st of the year.

Niemi would earn his first win as a shark by denying the Blue Jackets with solid netminding to close out the game. Columbus would pull Mason with 1:30 to play and came within a whisker of tying the game up after Patrick Marleau mishandled the puck as San Jose tried to skate the puck out of their end. The Blue Jackets would gain control of the puck and work it down low where Rick Nash just missed on a point blank chance.

Game Notes:

Rookie Tommy Wingels made his NHL debut, logging 4:55 of ice-time on 8 shifts. Thornton was 7-for-12 in the faceoff circle. Devin Setoguchi led the team in hits with 4 on the night.



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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 2 0 1 3
CBJ 2 0 0 2
1st period - 1, SJ, Mitchell 1 (Clowe, Pavelski), 2:11. 2, SJ, Thornton 1 (Pavelski, Niemi), 10:57, (pp). 3, CBJ, Huselius, 1 (Filatov, Stralman), 16:55, (pp). 4, CBJ, Umberger 1 (Moreau), 17:10.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 5, SJ, Couture 1 (Clowe, Boyle), 10:15, (pp).
Penalties
1st period - Heatley, SJ (holding the stick), 4:10; Wallin, SJ (slashing), 6:03; McLaren, SJ (fighting major), 9:26; Boll, CBJ (fighting major), 9:26; Dorsett, CBJ (tripping),10:25; Huselius, CBJ (tripping), 12:46; Mitchell, SJ (high sticking), 16:31.
2nd period - Nichol, SJ (cross checking), 2:10; Mackenzie, CBJ (cross checking), 2:10; Heatley, SJ (cross checking), 3:48; Moreau, CBJ (charging), 6:36; Hejda, CBJ (hooking), 8:38; Clowe, SJ (fighting major), 10:38; Clowe, SJ (slashing), 10:38; Commodore, CBJ (fighting major), 10:38; Murray, SJ (cross checking), 13:07; Stralman, CBJ (hooking), 17:36.
3rd period - Wallin, SJ (diving),2:56; Pahlsson, CBJ (tripping), 2:56; McGinn, SJ (tripping), 6:13; Commodore, CBJ (boarding), 8:26 .
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Niemi 32 30
CBJ - Mason 28 25
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 10 14 4 28
CBJ 11 12 9 32
Power Play Conversion
SJ 2 of 6
CBJ 1 of 7
3 Stars of the Game
Ryane Clowe
Kristian Huselius
Joe Pavelski
Attendence
11,324
Officials
Referees: Auger, Furlatt. Linesmen: Rody, Schachte.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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