Productive power play propels San Jose Sharks past Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2

Thumbnail image for niemiasashark.jpgSan Jose Sharks 3, Columbus Blue Jackets 2

For a while, it looked like this game might get out of hand.

The San Jose Sharks took a 2-0 lead midway through the first period while Steve Mason looked more than a little beleaguered. The third-year goalie got his game together, though, and the Blue Jackets scored two goals in 15 seconds to get back in the game at the end of the first frame.

Ultimately both Mason and new Sharks goalie Antti Niemi played solidly in this one. Niemi stopped 30 out of 32 shots while Mason put aside 25 out of 28.

The Sharks connected on 2 out of 6 power plays while the Blue Jackets on 1 out of 7 in a notably sloppy game. Torrey Mitchell, Joe Thornton and Logan Couture scored for the Sharks, with Couture scoring the game-winner on the power play. Kristian Huselius provided a spirited effort in this one, putting six shots on net while connecting with one power-play goal. R.J. Umberger scored the other Columbus goal in this one.

San Jose and Columbus play another game in Sweden on Saturday Night. It’ll be interesting to see if Niemi gets back-to-back starts or if the Sharks decide to run with a 1a/1b goalie rotation and start Antero Niittymaki. Much like when Minnesota produced an improved effort against Carolina in their second game, expect the Blue Jackets to play more desperate hockey Saturday night. If not, it will be a pretty depressing flight back for Columbus.

Click here for the box score and here for the Associated Press recap.

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    Here are the 10 oldest players to play a game this season

    Jaromir Jagr
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    This isn’t breaking news or anything. We just thought you’d like to know that three of the NHL’s 10 oldest players (who’ve played at least one game this season) are members of the Florida Panthers.

    Oh, and the Panthers’ starting goalie? He’s the oldest starter in the league. (Scroll down.)

    Here’s the list of skaters, topped by 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr:


    Yet another veteran Panther, 36-year-old defenseman Brian Campbell, ranks 17th on the list.

    Granted, the above list does not include 39-year-old Patrik Elias (who’s hurt) or 39-year-old Eric Boulton (who just re-signed with the Isles). As soon as those two play, Thornton will get pushed out of the top 10.

    Now here’s the list of goalies who’ve started at least one game this season, topped by 36-year-old Roberto Luongo:


    For the record, Luongo isn’t the oldest goalie under contract. That would be Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom, who’s 37.

    Related: Can Florida’s old guys hang on while the young guys get better?

    Hamburglar (groin) returns, Sens demote O’Connor

    Andrew Hammond
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    Matt O'Connor‘s time in the Canadian capital was brief, but still noteworthy.

    O’Connor, the losing netminder in Sunday’s “Battle of the Backups” against Montreal — Habs No. 2 Mike Condon got the win — has been sent down to AHL Binghamton to pave the way for Andrew Hammond‘s return from a groin injury, per the Sun.

    The Hamburglar has been out since the preseason, but his return is earlier than expected.

    He was originally supposed to miss the first two weeks, yet now sounds as though he’ll play one of Ottawa’s two games on an upcoming road trip through Columbus and Pittsburgh.

    It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.