Columbus Blue Jackets' Matt Calvert (11) controls the puck behind the net as San Jose Sharks' Scott Nichol (21) defends during the second period of an NHL hockey game Monday, Feb 9, 2011, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Terry Gilliam)
“This wasn’t the plan by any means,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. “The first period we weren’t alert, we didn’t have our legs underneath us and we weren’t very competitive. To come back was a nice thing. Our goaltender had a huge part in that.”
Niemi made 42 saves, including 28 in the final two periods. He was at his best late in the first, as Columbus threatened to turn it into a rout, and in the final 5 minutes while preserving the lead.
The Sharks have earned at least one point in 10 straight games (9-0-1).
Joe Pavelski dug the puck off the back wall and passed to Marleau, who flipped the puck at goalie Steve Mason from a couple of feet away from the goal line on the left wing. Pavelski helped distract Mason as the puck slipped into the net.
“It got in on the short side,” Columbus coach Scott Arniel said. “(Mason) was playing a heck of a hockey game and it just squeezed in.”
Marleau had an assist to go with his goal, and Pavelski had two assists as the Sharks rallied from a 2-0 deficit. The Blue
Jackets had applied most of the pressure in the third before Marleau’s goal, outshooting the Sharks 16-9 in the period and 44-32 overall.
Kent Huskins and Kyle Wellwood also scored for the Sharks, who have won five straight.