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Tired Sharks hold off Blue Jackets
Sharks win 3rd game in 4 nights
1/5/12 - By Mike Lee -

Playing their third game in four nights, the Sharks had a tall order in squaring off with the rested Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night. San Jose looked to make it a perfect trifecta, but Columbus tried to jump the Sharks early. San Jose weathered the storm and beat the Blue Jackets 2-1 in a tightly contested affair. In the battle of goaltending backups, Thomas Greiss allowed a lone goal to beat his Columbus counterpart Curtis Sanford.

Greiss was one goal better than Sanford, who made 37 saves in the losing effort. His workload was capped by a pair of 15 shot periods that netted San Jose both of their goals, but was otherwise flawless. Sanford earned a star for his performance.

"I thought it was a gutsy effort on our behalf," said Sharks hea coach Todd McLellan. "To come back and play three in four with a team that's sitting in your city waiting for you and they're very fresh, I thought it was really good. We didn't get off to the start we wanted, kind of waded our way in and that wasn't the game plan. After that I thought we did a number of good things both offensively and defensively."

Columbus bookended the game with flurries of scoring chances , but could only muster a single goal. That coming on Vinny Prospal's 8th goal of the season just 2:13 into the game.

Knowing the Sharks were playing on heavy legs, the Blue Jackets took it to the Sharks to open the game. Prospal scored the lone Columbus goal on a tap in from just outside the left post, after Mark Letestu served up the helper from behind the Sharks net.

"We knew these guys were coming in from Anaheim,"added Blue Jaclets head coach Scott Arniel. "We didn't want to let them get on the power play early in the game. We played a real solid first ten minutes. We got the lead and did a lot of good things and then six minutes of power play and that gives them life. It really jump started them for the second period."

Like the evening before, San Jose battled back from the early deficit.

Ryan Johansen helped the Sharks open their scoring by taking a 4-minute high-sticking penalty midway through the opening period.

Ryane Clowe cashed in on the ensuing power play on a second effort in front of Sanford after Michal Handzus threw the puck into the crease. Clowe charged the crease, stabbing at the loose puck before punching it home for his 8th goal of the season.

"It was good to get it on the power play," said Clowe. "I think our game was doing a pretty good job there on the power play lately it just hadn't been going in. It was good to see that go in. We had a couple really good chances on a couple more power plays especially in the third. I was happy to see that go in for sure."

San Jose got the go-ahead goal 4:44 into the 2nd period when Joe Thornton batted home his own deflection from the Blue Jackets doorstep. Patrick Marleau put a shot on net that was deflected by Thornton at the top of the Columbus crease. The puck bounced back off Sanford, floating in the air for the put back.

The game winner came in Thornton's 500th game in teal, extending the Sharks winning streak to three games.

Columbus failed to overpower the Sharks in the final 20 minutes, putting only 8 shots on goal. Greiss wasn't challenged until the final two minutes of the game, when the Blue Jackets tried to even the score up.

Defenseman Dan Boyle helped preserve the win with a sliding save right before the final buzzer. Boyle stepped in front of a shot that may have found the back of the net had he not impeded its path.

"It happened, the block you mean, it was a turnover, I think, and it happened pretty fast," the defenseman said. "It's just one of those things. Just kind of a desperate…I knew there wasn't too much time left. I'm just glad it hit me."

The veteran mixed it up with Blue Jackets super star Rick Nash moments earlier. When asked about the scrap after game, Boyle cracked that he chose not to engage Nash because, "based on the way my year has gone, I was worried I'd pull or break something."


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1 2 3 T
CBJ 1 0 0 1
SJ 1 1 0 2
1st period - 1, CBJ, Prospal 8 (Letestu, Vermette), 2:13. 2, SJ, Clowe 8 (Handzus, Demers), 13:03, (pp).
2nd period - 3, SJ, Thornton 8 (Marleau, Pavelski), 4:44.
3rd period - None.
1st period - Johansen, CBJ (high sticking - double minor), 9:48; Johansen, CBJ (high sticking), 16:25.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - Boll, CBJ (roughing), 7:37; MacKenzie, CBJ (cross checking), 7:37; Burns, SJ (roughing), 7:37; Dorsett, CBJ (boarding), 13:46.
Shots Saves
CBJ - Sanford 39 37
SJ - Greiss 24 23
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
CBJ 10 6 8 24
SJ 15 15 9 39
Power Play Conversion
CBJ 0 of 0
SJ 1 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Jason Demers
Curtis Sanford
Joe Thornton
Referees: Martell, Rooney. Linesmen: Lazarowich, Galloway.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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