San Jose Sharks’ Nick Bonino, left, carries the puck behind the net as Columbus Blue Jackets’ Sean Kuraly defends during the first period at Nationwide Arena in Columbus on Sat Jan 21, 2023 (AP News photo)
By Matthew Harrington
The San Jose Sharks took the lead 1:53 into the third period, but the Columbus Blue Jackets scored three unanswered goals at home to beat San Jose 5-3 Saturday night. Nick Bonino and Timo Meier scored the Sharks, while Nico Sturm had a team best two points on a goal and an assist.
Kaapo Kahkonen made 24 saves on 28 shots for San Jose (14-24-9), while Joonas Korpisalo made 22 saves on 25 shots for Columbus. five different Blue Jackets (14-30-2) had two-point nights to snap a three-game losing skid, sitting in last place in the league standings with 30 points.
The 3-2 lead wasn’t the first to slip out of the Sharks’ grasp. Meier scored his 27th goal 10:49 into the first period and Bonino doubled the lead 2-0 5:39 into the second on a wrap around. Free agent signing Johnny Gaudreau scored a power play goal 11:19 into the second and Boone Jenner beat Kahkonen on a wrist shot at the 12:31 mark of the middle frame to tie the game.
After Sturm gave the Sharks the 3-2 lead on an unassisted strike, Patrick Laine picked up his 13th goal of the year at the 3:04 mark of the third. Former Shark Gustav Nyquist provided the game-winner at the 12:38 mark with Kent Johnson picking up his second assist of the game on the goal.
Sean Kuraly scored the empty netter with 1:04 left in regulation for the 5-3 final. Gaudreau (1-1-2), Nyquist(1-1-2), Laine (1-1-2) and Nick Blankenburg (0-2-2) were the other multi-pointers for CBJ.
The Sharks go from worst to first in terms of opponents. They head to Boston for a lopsided back-to-back, facing the Bruins at TD Garden Sunday night. James Reimer, fresh off his 200th career victory, is expected to start for San Jose.