NHL Game Summary - Columbus at San Jose
(Monday, February 23rd)
Final Score: San Jose 4, Columbus 2
Glendale, AZ (Sports Network) - Jonathan Cheechoo scored twice in the third period to lift the San Jose Sharks to a 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at HP Pavilion.
Marco Sturm and Alyn McCauley also scored for the Sharks, who returned home after a six-game road trip to post their fifth straight win on home ice. Evgeni Nabokov made 24 saves in the victory, San Jose's second straight.
Pascal Leclaire was brilliant in net for Columbus despite giving up all four goals. The rookie goaltender, playing in just his second career game, finished with 34 stops, but it was not enough to keep the Blue Jackets from remaining winless in their last 11 road tilts (0-8-3).
Rostislav Klesla and Anders Eriksson scored for Columbus, which also lost its fourth straight overall.
With the Sharks clinging to a 2-1 lead entering the third period, Cheechoo was pulled down on a breakaway attempt just seconds into the stanza. He was awarded a penalty shot and didn't miss with the opportunity. Cheechoo deked and put the puck on his backhand, lifting it over the goaltender just 32 seconds into the final period.
"Cheechoo's goal, that's the right-handed move, fake high then go to your backhand," explained Sharks coach Ron Wilson.
At the midway point of the final stanza Eriksson pulled the visitors within one goal, but Cheechoo put the game away with a wrister from the high slot that eluded Leclaire for his 18th marker of the season. Mike Ricci had the puck behind the net and attempted to send a pass to the front of the net. The puck slid through the traffic and onto the stick of Cheechoo in the high slot. His wrister found its way through the traffic and over Leclaire's shoulder.
"We had some momentum going, we scored the second goal to make it a close game," Blue Jackets coach Gerard Gallant said. "We didn't deserve to be in it, don't get me wrong, but we still made it a close game."
Klesla opened the scoring with his second goal of the season just 2:58 into the contest. But San Jose answered almost two minutes later when McCauley received the puck to the right of the goaltender and drifted across the crease. His backhand attempt found its way to the back of the net to tie the score at 1-1 just under five minutes into the game.
Sturm then continued his strong play of late when he tallied with 40 seconds remaining in the first period. He put home his own rebound for his 19th goal of the season and fourth in his last five games.
The second period then went scoreless, thanks to 17 saves by Leclaire.
Sturm now has a point in each of his last five games (4g, 4a)...The Blue Jackets fell to 1-7 all-time in San Jose...The Sharks improved to 11-3 in its last 14 against Columbus...This was the finale of a four-game road trip for the Blue Jackets.
02/24 01:54:28 ET