COLUMBUS Patrick Marleaus late marker was the difference in the Sharks' 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night, in a game marred by an ugly hit on San Joses Andrew Desjardins in the second period at Nationwide Arena.After Rick Nash tied the game earlier in the third, Marleau put home a juicy rebound of a wrist shot by Joe Pavelski with 2:57 remaining. The puck went from the pad of goalie Curtis Sanford right to the tape of Marleau for an easy conversion.You dream of those ones, thats for sure, Marleau said. It was a great play by Pav, and Dan Boyle to get it going up the ice, and I was in the right spot at the right time, I guess.
The win was the Sharks sixth in their last seven games (6-0-1), but may have come at a cost, as an elbow from Columbus Dane Byers nailed Desjardins in the head at 3:01 of the second period. The rookie had been seeing increased ice time of late.NEWS: Desjardins feels "fine" after dirty hit
Desjardins said he felt fine after the game, but he did not return after the blindsided collision. Byers received a match penalty for intent to injure, but not before he had to answer to Brad Winchester, who decided to stick up for his linemate by dropping the gloves.I kind of saw it out of the corner of my eye. I saw Desjardins go down, and jumped in, Winchester said.Winchester received 17 minutes of penalties himself, including an instigating minor and misconduct, so the Sharks ensuing power play was just three minutes instead of five. But, that didnt matter to coach Todd McLellan.I think its appropriate at that time to take care of a teammate, McLellan said. Winnie has done that for our team all year. Were very happy with the way hes been playing.Ryane Clowe, whose power play goal gave the Sharks a 1-0 second period lead, took the opportunity to vent about the instigator penalty in general.Winnie will pick up for his teammates, no doubt. Its great to see, Clowe said. To get two, five and a 10, thats a rule that frustrates me. He didnt go up and jump the guy, the guy saw him coming and he gets 17 minutes and misses half the game. Thats kind of frustrating, but thats the way it is. Well take those penalties any night.The Sharks conclude a four-game road trip on Sunday in Chicago.The San Jose power play capitalized on its fifth opportunity on a goal by Clowe in the second period.Brent Burns fired a heavy slapper towards the net, ringing it squarely off of the far post. Goalie Curtis Sanford was unable to locate the puck, and Logan Couture chipped it into midair, while Clowe whacked it into the net just under the crossbar on the other side at 14:59.Clowe had no problem seeing the puck through his cage, which he is wearing due to a facial injury incurred on Tuesday in Minnesota."Whats that thing they say, you see three and swing at the middle one? he joked. I couldnt see it until the last minute, actually. Cant really whine about the cage when Im doing that. Ill take it.There was a thought right away that Clowe may have knocked it in with a high stick, as the puck was still several feet in the air when he swatted it in.I knew right away. You can feel when the stick is too high and I knew it was at the cross bar or below, he said.The San Jose power play had been generally ineffective up to that point, including the Byers penalty and a four-minute power play in the first period with Nash off on a double minor for high sticking Douglas Murray.We shuffled it around a little bit and changed some things, then it got real urgent, McLellan said of the power play. Then, it did what its supposed to do, shoot and get it back. That was a big goal for us, obviously.Thomas Greiss kept it that way at the intermission, making his best save of the night with six seconds left in the period. Derek Brassard looked like he was about to fire a wrist shot on net, but instead found an open Fedor Tyutin. Greiss quickly dove from his left to his right to snuff out Tyutins attempt.I just saw the rush coming. I saw Brassard, and he had a pretty good scoring chance, too, but I saw Tyutin in the back door and just jumped at it, said Greiss, who finished with 25 saves. It just hit my pad.The Blue Jackets tied it, though, on a great effort from Nash. Columbus best player skated across the blue line and fired a perfectly placed wrist shot into the corner, high past the stick side of Greiss at 8:53 of the third.The goal was Nashs 16th career marker against the Sharks in 31 games, and was one of those goals that few players in the NHL have the ability to convert.He put that in a good spot, Greiss said, laughing.Greiss finished with 25 saves to record his sixth win of the season. He also beat the Blue Jackets on Jan. 5, in what are his only two appearances in the last six weeks.I thought Greisser was very good. His last two starts, both against Columbus, were exceptional, McLellan said. It makes us feel very good heading into this busy stretch.Odds and ends: The Sharks killed off both Columbus power plays. San Jose lost 28 of 46 faceoffs. Each team had 13 blocked shots.