1 of 3
Paul Sakuma, Associated Press
San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton (19) scores past Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Steve Mason (1) in the first period on an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012.

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Joe Thornton scored twice to get San Jose off to a fast start out of the All-Star break and Antti Niemi posted his 17th career shutout in the Sharks' 6-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.

Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Jamie McGinn and Michal Handzus also scored for the Sharks, who have beaten the Blue Jackets 19 times in 21 games at HP Pavilion.

Four of San Jose's goals came on second chances as Steve Mason struggled to control his rebounds all game. Mason finished with 37 saves as the Blue Jackets lost their fifth straight game.

With a daunting second-half schedule that includes a nine-game, 15-day road trip with three sets of back-to-backs this month, the Sharks could ill afford a slipup at home against the NHL's worst team.