Photo credit: nhl.com/sharks
By Mary Walsh
The San Jose Sharks defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1 at the Nationwide Arena Friday. It was the Sharks’ first win since Joe Thornton suffered a knee injury four games ago. The Sharks’ goals came from Logan Couture, Kevin Labanc and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 28 saves on 29 shots.
Boone Jenner scored the lone goal for the Blue Jackets. Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovski made 25 saves in a losing effort.
After the game, Martin Jones said:
It was a really strong game for us. This is a pretty tough road trip for us and we weren’t happy getting one point in the first two games. Obviously we thought we could have done a little better. It was a big win for us. I thought it was a really strong road game for us. We did a lot of good little things tonight.
Kevin Labanc has moved onto the first power play unit in Joe Thornton’s absence.
“He knows what he’s doing out there,” Logan Couture said of Labanc. “He put up a lot of points in junior and I’m sure a lot of those were on the power play. So, that usually translates over to the pro league. I didn’t think it’d translate over this quickly but he’s done a great job.”
The Sharks scored the only first period goal at 5:07. The Sharks were on the power play after Matt Calvert was called for tripping Brenden Dillon. Brent Burns was parked in front of Bobrovski when Logan Couture took a shot from the point. The puck might have been deflected by a Columbus player, as there were several between Couture and the goal. Assists went to Kevin Labanc and Tomas Hertl.
The Blue Jackets responded early in the second period with a goal from Boone Jenner. Jenner took a shot from some ways above the faceoff circle that beat Martin Jones on the left side. There were two Sharks defending, including Dylan DeMelo. The shot went off of Demelo’s stick and changed direction slightly on its way to the net. Assists went to Cam Atkinson and Dean Kukan.
The Sharks power play paid off again in the second period. This time with a goal from Kevin Labanc during a 13 second 5-on-3 at 10:20. After an especially contentious faceoff, Pavelski came up with the puck and sent it to Labanc who was waiting, unguarded, right in front of Bobrovsky.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic extended the lead at 6:51 of the third. Justin Braun sent the puck through the neutral zone, where Timo Meier touched it just enough for Vlasic to pick in up on his way into the offensive zone. Vlasic evaded the Columbus defense long enough to get a back hand shot off. The puck went in on the far side as Bobrovsky moved the other way to cover the shot. Assists went to Meier and Braun.
With 7:13 left in the third, Burns sent a puck around the boards and Couture caught it in the mouth and had to leave the ice. He did return to play before the end of the period.
The Blue Jackets had their only power play of the game at 14:34 of the third but failed to score.
Up Next: The Sharks next play on Sunday at 10:00 am PT in Raleigh, North Carolina, against the Hurricanes.