mercurynews.com photo: Columbus Blue Jackets’ Gabriel Carlsson, left, of Sweden, and San Jose Sharks’ Timo Meier, of Switzerland, battle for the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio.
By Mary Walsh
The San Jose Sharks defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 Saturday in Columbus, Ohio. Shark goals came from Barclay Goodrow, Evander Kane and Kevin Labanc. Sharks goalie Aaron Dell made 21 saves in the win. Both Blue Jackets goals came from Zach Werenski and Elvis Merzlikins made 25 saves for Columbus.
After the game, Sharks interim head coach Bob Boughner said:
I just like the way we’re playing as a 20-man unit. We’re all on the same page, and we’re doing some good things, we’re managing our game. It’s a little bit of a more mature game I think lately. And we’re giving ourselves a chance to win every night which is the most important thing.
This win was the second after the team’s abysmal loss to Detroit Tuesday. Asked whether the Sharks know what they need to do here at the midpoint of the season, Sharks forward Barclay Goodrow said:
We know how we have to play to win hockey games. You know, we’ve seen it throughout this year. When we’re not playing the way we should be playing then it’s not a good look for us and then we’re not a successful team. It’s just a matter of bringing that game every night.
The first period was scoreless, though Sharks forward Joel Kellman put the puck in the net. Kellman carried the puck across the line and took a shot past the defenseman, putting the puck over the goalie’s pad and into the net. Unfortunately, the goal was called back for offside.
The Sharks out-shot the Blue Jackets 11-9 in the first and each team killed a penalty.
The second period was much more eventful. The Sharks scored the first goal to count at 7:05 of the period. The Blue Jackets had just completed a power play when Barclay Goodrow came flying out of the box. He picked the puck up in the Blue Jackets’ zone and and had no one between him and the goalie. He used a little backhand shot to slip the puck past Merzlikins. It was Goodrow’s seventh goal of the season and Tomas Hertl got an assist.
The Blue Jackets tied it up at 8:50. They moved the puck around the offensive zone for a long shift before Zach Werenski took a backhand shot from the slot and beat Aaron Dell. Assists went to Boone Jenner and Nick Foligno. It was Werenski’s 12th goal of the season.
The Sharks took the lead back with a goal at 14:40. Timo Meier brought the puck across the line along the wall and made a pass to the center slot where Evander Kane had just arrived. Kane did not hesitate to shoot and he beat Merzlikins on the glove side. Assists went to Meier and Radim Simek. The goal was Kane’s 15th of the season, tying him with Hertl for the team lead in goals.
The Blue Jackets out-shot the Sharks 12-6 in the second period and had one power play.
Kevin Labanc scored the game winner at 16:59 of the third period. Erik Karlsson sent the puck up the ice where Marcus Sorensen chased it into the zone. He was knocked away from the puck around the face-off circle but Joe Thornton was right behind him to pick up it up and send it to the slot where Labanc was ready for the shot. Assists went to Thornton and Karlsson.
Zach Werenski narrowed the lead a few seconds later by shooting in a rebound that Sonny Milano created with a shot from the blue line. Assists went to Milano and Seth Jones.
The Sharks out-shot Columbus 11-2 in the third period. They had a good face-off game, winning 59% of them. Barclay Goodrow (14 draws) and Tomas Hertl (23 draws) both won more than 60% of their face-offs.
Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns led the Sharks in shots with four each, while Werenski led both teams with five. Neither team got any shots on net during the power play.
The Sharks next play on Sunday against the Washington Capitals in Washington DC at 9:30 AM PT.