All in can say about the Sharks performance tonight against the Blue Jackets can be summed up in one word:
Yes the Sharks were playing a depleted Columbus team that is out of the playoff picture. But tonight's performance showed that the Sharks are definately going to stake a claim to the playoffs in a big way. Sitting in the 3rd row off the glass was a great spot to see if the Sharks would come out flying after aquiring Brian squared at the trade deadline (Campbell & Boucher).
Brian Campbell doned his trademark 51 for the first time in teal and he was definately everything he was advertised to be. Soupy was constantly on the attack and moved the puck swiifty out of the Sharks zone all night. He was what the Sharks were looking for, and he got his first assist in teal in his first game. He is also a gritty, pesty player. At one point, he backchecked Rick Nash in the Sharks zone. Nash did not like being treated like a rag doll by Campbell, and Nash drew a roughing penalty when he tried to get Brian to drop the gloves. Doug Murray came in to rescue Campbell, but we will get back to that in a minute.
The resulting roughing penalty to Nash put the Sharks on the power play and Jeremy Roenick made the Blue Jackets pay with the Sharks second power play goal of the game. The Sharks power play has been sick lately, and the Sharks seem to have found the right medicine. Just add Soup.
After Roenick's goal, the Blue Jackets did not take kindly to Doug Murray rescuing Campbell, so Jerrod Boll and Murray dropped the gloves right at the faceoff. The battle of heavyweights was well worth watching, but ended in a draw.
The fight most Sharks fans wanted to see was Shelley/Boll, but tonight's return to Nationwide by Jody Shelley turned into a love fest between Shelley and the Columbus fans. The Blue Jackets showed a "Thank You Jody and Mandy (Shelley's wife)" video at the first TV timeout, and it turned into a standing ovation to Shelley, a fan favorite in Columbus, that lasted the entire length of the video. It was definately a classy move made by the Blue Jackets, and the fans showed their appreciation to the Shelley family. Jody showed his appreciation by standing and waiving his stick to the fans.
The rest of the Sharks really seemed to snap out of a funk in this game. Cheechoo continued his torrid scoring pace as of late, scoring the Sharks first powerplay goal. Joe Thornton was the #1 star with his two assists, and he was flying all over the ice. Patrick Marleau had an assist and led the team with four shots, showing more signs that he too is coming around. Joe Pavelski added a goal and an assist, replacing the offense that went to Buffalo with Steve Bernier. Bernier had two goals and an assist in his first game with the Sabres in Buffalo, helping Sabre fans get over the sting of losing Campbell.
The Sharks have now one three in a row. They have a long way to go, but thinks are definately heading in the right direction. To quote one of my favorite movies, Major League, "Things are starting to come together Pepper, starting to come together."