NHL Game Summary - San Jose vs. Columbus
(Friday, October 8th)
Final Score: San Jose 3, Columbus 2
Stockholm, Sweden (Sports Network) - Logan Couture scored the deciding goal midway through the third period, as the San Jose Sharks edged the Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-2, in the opener of their season-opening series at the Ericsson Globe.
Joe Thornton and Torrey Mitchell also scored for the Sharks, who are coming off a season in which they won the Pacific Division and reached the Western Conference Finals before getting swept by Chicago.
Antti Niemi, who played for the Blackhawks last season, made his debut with San Jose and made 30 saves. Joe Pavelski and Ryane Clowe each had two assists.
Swede Kristian Huselius scored for Columbus, while fellow Swedes Samuel Pahlsson and Anton Stralman each had an assist. R.J. Umberger had the other goal and Steve Mason turned aside 25 shots for the Blue Jackets, who lost in the debut of new head coach Scott Arniel.
"It was a close game, a tight game," Huselius said. "We showed some character to come back from two goals down."
The Sharks took the lead only 2:11 into the game thanks to a mistake by Mason. Mitchell had the puck behind the net on the right side and Mason slid over to seal off the post, but Mitchell stuffed a backhand shot between the goaltender's pads.
Thornton made it a 2-0 game nearly nine minutes later, while San Jose was on the power play. His slapshot from the high slot appeared to deflect off a stick and beat Mason high.
However, Columbus evened the game later in the period by scoring two goals quickly.
The Blue Jackets were on the power play when Huselius beat Niemi with 3:05 to go. Just 15 seconds later, Ethan Moreau rushed toward the net from the left side, only to have Niemi poke the puck away. But Umberger followed the play and put the puck into the net.
Niemi stopped 12 shots in a scoreless middle period, while Mason made 14 saves.
San Jose was back on the power play in the third period, after Mike Commodore was called for boarding Sharks forward Jamie McGinn at 8:26. McGinn remained on the ice for several moments before heading to the bench.
"I don't like to see people crashing into the boards, those are dangerous plays, we talked about it all summer," Commodore said. "But if you look at the replay, if he's going to go dead straight into the boards, and then as the puck comes out lean into his stick and go to shoot the puck...I mean, all I did was lift his stick two inches off the ice and he went crashing into the boards. I don't like to see that, but there's nothing else I can do. That isn't a dirty play. He put himself in a bad situation."
Nearing the end of the resulting man advantage, Couture wristed a shot from the left side, and it got past Mason to give the Sharks a one-goal edge at the 10:15 mark.
Niemi made nine saves in the final period to secure the win.
The teams will also meet Saturday to complete the series, part of the 2010 NHL Premiere series, in which the league is staging games in three European cities at the start of the season...San Jose was 2-for-6 on the power play...Columbus was 1-for-7 on the man advantage, which included one 5-on-3 and one 4-on-3.
10/08 20:31:53 ET