COLUMBUS -– Trailing by a pair goals early in the final period, the Sharks could have decided that they were far too road weary to battle back against a team they’ve struggled to beat in the past.
Instead, playing in the second of a back-to-back, they scored four consecutive goals to shock the Blue Jackets and complete a sweep of their six-game road trip Sunday at Nationwide Arena, 5-3.
It’s the first time in franchise history the Sharks have swept a road trip of six games.
After Cam Atkinson gave the Blue Jackets a 3-1 lead early in the third, Joe Pavelski cut it to 3-2 when he deflected Justin Braun’s shot through the wickets of Sergei Bobrovsky at 6:13.
A power play goal by Brent Burns tied it at 11:25. Joel Ward threaded a striking pass through the slot to the Wookie, who had all kinds of net to deposit his eighth goal.
Brenden Dillon’s first goal in 54 games was the decider, when the defenseman directed a Chris Tierney faceoff win towards the net that somehow snuck through at 13:15.
Pavelski’s empty net goal with 1:16 to go capped the scoring, when Bobrovsky seemed to come out of the net too early.
The Sharks (13-8-0) have won seven straight road games overall, and open up a three-game homestand on Wednesday.
The Blue Jackets seemed to take control of the game in the second period, scoring the only two goals of the frame to take a 2-1 lead into the intermission.
Ryan Johansen got the home team on the board, pushing the puck through Alex Stalock at 5:30 during a scramble in front of the net.
Just one minute and 48 seconds later, Columbus executed a perfect three-on-two rush resulting in Boone Jenner’s team-leading 11th goal from William Karlsson and Brandon Saad.
Columbus outshot the Sharks in the middle frame, 19-7.
The Jackets padded their lead early in the third. Nick Foligno was permitted to skate in front of the net and bounced a shot off Stalock’s pad, but Atkinson easily flipped home the rebound at 1:23.
That two-goal cushion didn’t hold, though, as the Sharks won for just the second time in their last six trips to Ohio’s capital.
San Jose opened the scoring at 16:27 of the first period. Bobrovsky denied Joonas Donskoi’s shot, but Patrick Marleau was there to tuck home the loose disc for his seventh marker.
Prior to the goal, there was a pair of fights just four seconds apart. Micheal Haley and Dalton Prout staged a lengthy bout, while Mike Brown and Gregory Campbell -– who also fought in San Jose on Nov. 3 –- didn’t remain on their skates very long after dropping the gloves.
After missing Saturday’s game due to a personal matter, Sharks coach Pete DeBoer joined the Sharks just before the start of the game, arriving on a flight from New York.
The Sharks power play failed on its first three tries, but came through at the most important time on Burns’ marker. They finished 1-for-4.
Columbus was 0-for-3, failing to convert on nearly a minute of a five-on-three in the second period.
Stalock started for the first time since beating the Panthers on Nov. 5. He allowed three goals on 31 shots.
Bobrovsky had won six of his last seven decisions headed into Sunday, but took the loss with four goals allowed on 28 shots.
Matt Nieto was scratched for undisclosed reasons, although it’s thought that he is dealing with something injury-related. Haley returned to the lineup after a one-game absence.
Tommy Wingels left for a portion of the second period, but returned to start the third.
The Sharks host the Blackhawks on Wednesday. It is the first of three meetings against the defending Cup champs, and the only one in San Jose.
San Jose hosts Calgary on Saturday, and the Penguins on Tuesday, Dec. 1. Four of the next five are at home.