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Tempers flare as San Jose rips Columbus

2/22/2003

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Thanks to an explosive offense and
Evgeni Nabokov's impressive performance, the San Jose Sharks played
one of their best games this season.

Marco Sturm scored two goals in a three-minute span of the
second period and Nabokov stopped 29 shots for his third shutout of
the season as the Sharks defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-0 Friday night.

The game got ugly at the end. Tempers flared at 8:20 of the
third period, resulting in a combined 64 penalty minutes. Jody
Shelley got 29 of the Blue Jackets' 43 minutes after being hit
with a misconduct and a game misconduct. Shelley hit Brad Stuart
from behind at least twice.

''He's an embarrassment to the league,'' Stuart said. ''He's not
worthy of putting on an NHL uniform.''

Columbus goaltender Jean-Francois Labbe said he believes Shelley was
just frustrated.

''It was embarrassing to lose like this,'' Labbe said.

The Sharks dominated the game. Nabokov improved to 6-1 against
the Blue Jackets and notched his 17th career shutout.

Teemu Selanne, Vincent Damphousse, Jonathan Cheechoo and Adam
Graves also scored for the Sharks, who ended a three-game losing
streak and sent Columbus to its fourth consecutive defeat.

''Everything clicked,'' San Jose coach Ron Wilson said. ''The
special teams made a huge difference and the goaltending was great.
You can't ask for anything more. Guys showed up and played hard.
They rose to the challenge.''

The Blue Jackets have never won in six games in San Jose and
dropped to 3-9 overall against the Sharks.

''I just don't think we had the effort after the first period,''
Labbe said. ''Nabokov made some big saves when he had to, and they
generated a lot of shots on the power play.''

The Sharks, who matched their second-best offensive output of
the season, benefited from a two-man advantage midway through the
second period that started their four-goal barrage. Columbus
defender Rostislav Klesla was whistled for holding at 8:27, and
Tyler Wright took an unsportsmanlike conduct call at the same time.

Damphousse scored a little more than a minute later to make it
2-0. Stuart shot the puck toward the net but it deflected off Luke
Richardson's stick in front of the net. Patrick Marleau tapped the
puck toward Damphousse, who beat Labbe to the glove side.

Selanne's goal, a putback after Damphousse's shot bounced off
Labbe's pads, came less than a minute later to make it 3-0. It was
Selanne's third goal in his last 24 games.

''We started off on a good note and kept rolling,'' Damphousse
said. ''We played our best game in a long time. Every aspect was
excellent tonight.''

Sturm redirected a Dan McGillis shot with 3:05 left in the
second period, then scored again on a power play with 25 seconds
left in the period from 10 feet out after taking a pass from
Marleau.

Cheechoo scored in the first period. Stuart, from the left
face-off circle, rifled a pass to Cheechoo, who was driving to the
net. Cheechoo slapped it past Labbe for his first goal in eight
games.

Game notes
The Blue Jackets, third in the league in first-period
goals, were held to just five shots in the opening period. ...
Nabokov had allowed three or more goals in each of his last five
games. ... Columbus left wing Geoff Sanderson has one goal in his last 18
games. ... Sharks left wing Scott Thornton took a stick to the head in the
first period and did not return. ... The Blue Jackets were 0-for-6
on power plays.