Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks
By Mary Walsh
SAN JOSE, Calif. — The San Jose Sharks fell to the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday by a score of 4-1. Despite outshooting Columbus 45-27, beating them soundly in the faceoff circle and taking the early lead with a goal from Kevin Labanc, San Jose could not beat the Blue Jackets’ defense or goalie again. Columbus goals came from Anthony Duclair, Seth Jones, Nick Foligno and Josh Anderson. Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 44 shots for the win. Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell made 23 saves for San Jose. The special teams were all penalty killers: the Sharks’ power play had three tries and did not score, and the Blue Jackets also failed to score with their power play.
After the game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said:
You look up at the end of the night and we have those shots. Didn’t probably feel like a 45 shot night. You know… the energy level was just a little bit off for us. But throughout that game we were right there at times, we just never found that spark we needed.
Logan Couture was asked about the ice, as the puck was bouncing a lot. He did not consider that a valid explanation: “Can’t blame the ice. Both teams play on it. It’s simple: we just didn’t play well enough. There’s no excuse of the ice being bad. We weren’t very good.”
When asked to elaborate, Couture said: “We weren’t good. We didn’t pass well, we didn’t play hard enough. We didn’t spend enough time in their end, we didn’t forecheck, we turned pucks over. I mean, you go down the list, we did a lot of things wrong tonight and we got what we deserved.”
The first period was balanced in scoring and shots. The Sharks spent a spell in the Columbus zone before finally scoring first at 11:50 of the first period. Couture was in front of the net, trying to get a shot off but the puck slipped away from him. Labanc was right on the spot to catch it and take the shot. Assists went to Couture and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. It was Labanc’s second goal of the season.
The Blue Jackets tied it up at 16:30 with a goal from Anthony Duclair. The goal came after a lot of pressure from the Blue Jackets all around the Sharks’ zone. Ryan Murray sent the puck down from the blue line to bounce off the back boards where Duclair picked it up and took it behind the net for a wraparound. Assists went to Murray and Alexander Wennberg.
Columbus scored twice in the second period, the first at 9:15. Duclair, near the goal line, moved the puck out in front of the net where it went off the skate of Seth Jones as Jones was stopping in front of the blue paint. Assists went to Duclair and Lukas Sedlak.
Foligno gave the Blue Jackets a two goal lead at 18:40 of the period. Erik Karlsson’s pass to Vlasic along the blue line missed and went off the boards to Markus Nutivaara. He made a quick pass up to a fast-moving Foligno in the neutral zone. Foligno skated in and beat Aaron Dell on the left side.
The only goal of the third period came with just 1:01 left in the game, a short-handed, empty-net goal from Josh Anderson.
The Sharks ended the game with a 5-on-3 power play, but it only lasted 22 seconds before they ran out of time.
The Sharks will host the Philadelphia Flyers for their next game on Saturday at 7:30 PM PT.