The San Jose Sharks went into the All-Star break winners in just three of their previous 10, but two of those wins were in their last two outings. Now, as the team with the least amount of games played in the NHL, they've got to hustle during the second half of the season, with a lot of games to play in a short amount of time. They wrapped up January in a big way though, as they played host to the Columbus Blue Jackets, and dominated from start to finish to win 6-0.
It was Antti Niemi's second-straight shutout, and five different Sharks players scored in the game. Joe Thornton was the Shark to score twice, notching a goal unassisted in the first period, and adding the hardly-necessary insurance goal halfway through the final frame. On top of that, Jamie McGinn, Michal Handzuz, Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski lit the lamp. Marleau put the first goal on the board eight minutes into the game, while Pavelski scored on a power play to start the second.
Steve Mason didn't actually play all-that bad for the Blue Jackets, but the Sharks were swarming, out-shooting Columbus 43-30. Antti Niemi stopped all 30 shots that came his way. San Jose was out-hit while Columbus also won more faceoffs, but it didn't matter in the end. There weren't more than a couple power players, but there was plenty of fighting and misconduct going on, with seven instances of that happening - six of which occurred in the third period.
Next, San Jose will take on the Dallas Stars on Feb. 2 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose.