Marco Sturm and Scott Thornton also scored for the Sharks, who
took an early two-goal lead and then pounded Columbus with 22 shots
and two more goals in the first 15 minutes of the second period.
That one-sided period, featuring countless fast breaks and
relentless drives to the net, was an example of the style San Jose
hopes to play every night.
"If you're a defenseman, it's pretty hard to stand up on some
of our guys with the speed they have," Thornton said. "We have
the speed and the skill to really get down there and get the puck
on the net over and over again. The way the game is being
officiated now, we're going to be tough to stop."
Sturm and Primeau scored first-period goals for the Sharks, who
capped a raucous pregame ceremony by unveiling their 2003-04
Pacific Division championship banner at the sold-out Shark Tank.
The game was the building's first real hockey since Game 5 of
the Western Conference finals nearly 17 months ago -- the last of
four straight home playoff losses to end the best season in
franchise history. The NHL is different now, with new rules
encouraging free-flowing offense and ostensibly banning the sketchy
defensive techniques that defined the NHL's last dozen seasons.
"That's as loud an opening night as I've ever heard anywhere,"
coach Ron Wilson said. "They provided a lot of excitement, and I
hope we reciprocated with the same kind of energy on the ice. (The
fans) are really going to enjoy the new NHL with the speed and the
emphasis on offense. It's a fun game to coach with the weapons we
The Sharks have won two straight after two road losses to open
the season. With four lines of speedy, young forwards and an
improving defensive corps in front of Nabokov, San Jose's optimism
is nearly as high as its banners.
Thornton and Primeau scored 61 seconds apart in the second
period, both thanks to horrendous lapses in team defense by the
Blue Jackets. Thornton scored on the fourth rebound in front of
goalie Marc Denis, whose teammates stood watching instead of
clearing the puck.
"We had a lot of breakdowns and gave them a lot of scoring
chances," Columbus coach Gerard Gallant said. "They have great
speed, but we're very capable. To get outplayed like that in the
second period was disappointing. They had nine shots on the two
goals, and you can't let that happen in the NHL."
Nabokov took a shutout into the third period before Radoslav
Suchy scored on a long shot through traffic with 8½ minutes to
Denis made 32 saves for the Blue Jackets, who open the season
with five of six games on the road. Columbus has lost three of the
first four, scoring just seven goals while star forward Rick Nash
is on injured reserve with a sprained ankle.
"There were too many rebounds," Suchy said. "We had a couple
of chances and didn't score, and then they jumped on us. They had
four guys getting to the puck on shots. They have a lot of speed,
and it was hard to hold them. We couldn't get back in time."
Sturm got his second goal of the season when Denis misplayed his
slap shot, allowing it to trickle into the net. Primeau scored 70
seconds later, adroitly controlling the rebound of Jonathan
Cheechoo's shot and lifting a backhand over Denis' pad.
After Columbus killed 90 seconds of a 5-on-3 disadvantage in the
second period, the Sharks went up 3-0 on Thornton's first goal of
the season. Thornton, who at 34 is San Jose's oldest player by 4½
years, scored on the third rebound by the relentless Sharks while
Denis' defenders stood watching.
Columbus' defense again was a step slow moments later, when
Primeau followed another shot by Cheechoo with a rebound goal.
Earlier Wednesday, the Blue Jackets said first-round pick
Gilbert Brule will be out for six weeks with a broken sternum. ...
San Jose has won 13 of the clubs' 17 meetings. ... Sharks C Marcel
Goc was helped off the ice with six minutes left after blocking a
shot with his knee. Wilson said it wasn't serious.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: SAP Center Location: San Jose, California
Referees: Mike Leggo, Kelly Sutherland Linesmen: Jonny Murray, Vaughan Rody
Attendance: 17,496 (100.0% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Marco Sturm (2)
Assists: Patrick Marleau, Milan Michalek
Wayne Primeau (1)
Assists: Jonathan Cheechoo, Mark Smith
Scott Thornton (1)
Assists: Nils Ekman, Alyn McCauley
Wayne Primeau (2)
Assists: Jonathan Cheechoo, Rob Davison
Radoslav Suchy (1)
Assists: Manny Malhotra, Adam Foote