Umberger propels Blue Jackets past Sharks

By Dave Holstein
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) — R.J. Umberger scored with 2:05
remaining in overtime as the Columbus Blue Jackets recorded a
2-1 triumph over the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday.

Michael Peca netted his second goal of the season and rookie
Steve Mason turned aside 47 shots for Columbus, which notched
its fifth consecutive victory at Nationwide Arena.

“We thought we played three pretty strong games against them
this year,” Umberger said. “For us to come out on the winning
end – especially at home – it’s something to build on.”

“It was a hard game for both teams,” Columbus coach Ken
Hitchcock said. “San Jose has a great team. They brought their
heavy game and we were forced to match it. We can draw back
from this stuff and know we can play at this level.”

Devin Setoguchi opened the scoring 3:41 into the third period
and Evgeni Nabokov finished with 30 saves for San Jose, which is
12-0-2 in its last 14 games.

“It was a great game,” Setoguchi said. “Everyone is going to
play our team hard because we are No. 1 in the league. I
thought we played great, we got a point out of it, now we can
put it behind us and we’ve got a bigger game to worry about (on
Thursday, at Detroit).”

“It’s very bearable,” San Jose coach Todd McLellan said. “We
didn’t get the win, but in a sense, we won in a different way.
We weren’t very good against this hockey club in our building
twice. The last time wasn’t even close; our goalie had to save
our hides.”

In overtime, Kristian Huselius skated in on a 2-on-1 and fed
Umberger, who buried the shot past Nabokov for his first goal in
11 games.

“Huselius made a good play at the blue line there,” Umberger
said. “We caught them in a 2-on-1 and we knew that Nabokov
comes out far. He was out so far so that by the time that it
got to me, he was out of position – and it was an empty net.”

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Mason’s 47 saves was one shy of the team record.

“Every time you are getting a lot of shots like that, you don’t
really have a chance to get cold out there,” Mason said. “I like
getting a lot of shots. It keeps you sharp and the results

“Both goaltenders had to be good and our guy was great,”
Hitchcock said. “To beat teams like that, we’re going to need
our goaltender to be our best player and he was.”

The game remained scoreless after two periods with each team
having numerous scoring opportunities.

Each team hit a post as Columbus rookie Derick Brassard did so
as the first period expired and San Jose defenseman Christian
Ehrhoff hit the iron at the 6:50 mark of the second period.

Setoguchi scored his team-leading 16th goal of the season after
redirecting a pass from defenseman Rob Blake past Mason.

“Patty (Marleau) made a great pass to Blake and I just finished
my play,” Setoguchi said. “It was kind of a simple play that
went in the back of the net.”

Columbus answered when Peca scored from the high slot to level
the contest with 7:28 remaining in the session.

San Jose defenseman Dan Boyle tried to clear the puck out of the
zone from behind the net. Columbus captain Rick Nash stopped the
puck along the wall and fed rookie Jakub Voracek in the slot.
Voracek then passed the puck to Peca, whose shot went off
Nabokov’s pad and in the net.

“A great play by Nash to keep it in the zone and start the
play,” Peca said. “Voracek got me the puck and I was able to
bury it.”