As the big storm continues to rage on across the Bay Area, the San Jose Sharks too continue to mow down opponents winning 3-2 Saturday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets in front of a sold-out crowd in HP Pavilion.
Patrick Rissmiller scored two goals for the Sharks, his first two-goal game of his NHL career, and Steve Bernier netted the other as San Jose snapped a five-game losing streak on home ice.
Goalie Evgeni Nabokov started his league-leading 41st game in goal and made 23 saves to earn his 23rd win, also tops in the league.
Rissmiller opened the scoring less than two minutes into the second period when he won a faceoff in the Blue Jackets’ offensive zone and tipped it back to his defensemen Matt Carle.
Carle fired a rifle of a shot from just inside the blueline as Rissmiller was providing a screen. Columbus’ goalie Pascal Leclaire had no chance to make the save when Rissmiller deflected the shot into the net for his third goal of the season.
Bernier scored two minutes after Rissmiller. After a turnover in the Blue Jackets’ end, Bernier was first to the puck and made a spectacular 360 move to his forehand and scored from the slot to make it a 2-0 Sharks lead.
In hopes of jumpstarting the Jackets in the third period, head coach Ken Hitchcock replaced Leclaire with Fredrik Norrena in goal.
The move did not initially work as Rissmiller again scored for the San Jose two and a half minutes into the third.
Sharks’ center Joe Pavelski stole the puck from three Blue Jackets behind their own net and made a centering pass to an open Rissmiller in front of the net who cashed in and scored.
Forward Andrew Murray and the Blue Jackets fought back and scored their first goal at 8:21 in the third period.
Murray skated with the puck behind Nabokov’s net and came out on the left side and fired a shot at the five-hole. Nabokov was caught out of position as the puck trickled into the net.
Sergei Fedorov netted the second goal of the night for Columbus two minutes after to make it a one goal game as the Sharks led 3-2.
The Blue Jackets were on a powerplay when Fedorov scored on a rebound against the second best penalty kill in the NHL.
But despite Columbus gaining momentum and confidence, the Sharks held on to win. San Jose is now 19-0-0 when they score 3 or more goals this season.
With the victory the Sharks hold sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division with a two point lead over rival the Dallas Stars.
It was only the Sharks’ seventh victory at home; San Jose previously had a league worst six wins at home.
The Sharks look to overcome their home woes as their 12 of their next 16 games will be at home.
San Jose will have a nice five day break before they face off against the visiting Roberto Luongo and the Vancouver Canucks next Thursday January 10th. The puck drops at 7:30 PM.