Sharks pounce on Jackets, 4-2

Columbus' rookie goalie Pascal Leclaire faced 38 shots.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Though Pascal Leclaire's first trip to the NHL was short and rocky, he still got a valuable education at the Shark Tank.
Jonathan Cheechoo scored twice in the third period for the San Jose Sharks, who pounded the Columbus Blue Jackets' rookie goalie with 38 shots in a 4-2 victory Monday night.
Leclaire, the Blue Jackets' first-round pick in 2001, never got comfortable in his second NHL start.
Marco Sturm and Alyn McCauley scored first-period goals for the Sharks, who dominated play for all but short stretches of their fourth win in five games.
And when Cheechoo got his first career penalty shot early in the third period, he beat Leclaire with a perfect backhand move.
"These games I can use for experience," said Leclaire, who got a few pointers from goaltending coach Rick Wamsley in the locker room. "This was good for me.
"For about 10 minutes, I felt a little numb out there, but after that I started to see the puck real well. I made some nice saves, and that gave me some confidence."
Back to AHL
With Fred Brathwaite due to return from a conditioning assignment today, Leclaire is headed back to Syracuse of the AHL. He lost both of his starts, but he's wiser for facing the Sharks.
"[Leclaire] should have gotten the win," defenseman Anders Eriksson said. "We didn't help him. We need to play a simpler game. They play very smart, and it's working for them. We need to follow their example."
Rostislav Klesla and Eriksson scored for the Blue Jackets, whose road winless streak stretched to 11 games (0-8-3). Columbus hasn't won on the road since a 3-2 overtime victory in San Jose on Jan. 8.
Evgeni Nabokov made 24 saves for the win, and Sturm extended his points streak to five games with a backhand power-play goal late in the first period. He has six goals and five assists in the Sharks' nine February games.
Penalty shot
Cheechoo was pulled down by Eriksson on a breakaway early in the third, setting up the right wing's penalty shot. He easily beat Leclaire for his 17th goal.
"I wanted to freeze him, and the ice was good, so I could make the move I wanted," Cheechoo said. "I knew he might not be expecting that, and everything worked out the way I thought it would."
Cheechoo scored again with 3:18 to play on a pass from Mike Ricci.
He has four goals in his last four games, again providing a scoring punch that's been a significant part of the Sharks' success in holding off Dallas atop the division.