Sharks down Blue Jackets 3-1; end four-game losing streak

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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.

Six Win Road Trip First In Sharks History

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks ended a perfect six-win road trip on Sunday, with a 5-3 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. It was the first time the Sharks swept a road trip longer than four games, and the first time they won six games on a single trip.

Al Stalock got his first start since November 10, making 28 saves on 31 shots. Sharks goals came from Patrick Marleau, Brent Burns, Brenden Dillon, and two from Joe Pavelski. It was Brenden Dillon’s first goal of the season and the game winner. After missing Saturday’s game for a personal matter, Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer was back behind the bench in time for the game.

After the game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said the team did not set out on this trip thinking of a win streak:

We didn’t talk about it. We talked about one day at a time. You look back now, it’s just a long time from then. Six in a row. You know, it’s good but it’s… we need that. It’s what we expect. We expect to win on a nightly basis and give ourselves that opportunity. Once we’re here it’s “take the good from it and now we gotta translate it back home.”

The Sharks started the game well, out shooting the Blue Jackets 10-5 in the first period. Each team had a power play in the first but the only goal scored came at even strength from Patrick Marleau. Joonas Donskoi took a shot that resulted in a small rebound. Marleau was in front of the blue paint, where he could tap the puck under Sergei Bobrovsky and into the net. Donskoi and Ward got the assists.

Micheal Haley and Mike Brown both fought in the first period, within four seconds of each other, against Dalton Prout and Gregory Campbell respectively.

The Blue Jackets pushed back early in the second period, out shooting the Sharks 7-1 in the first five minutes. Their efforts paid off when Ryan Johansen, surrounded by Sharks in front of the net, poked the puck between his feet and through Stalock. Assists went to Kerby Reichert and Josh Anderson.

Seconds later, the home team took the lead with a goal from Boone Jenner. An odd-man rush drew Stalock to the left, and a cross-ice pass left an open net for Jenner to shoot at. Assists went to William Karlsson and Brandon Saad.

The Sharks’ struggles continued through the first half of the period, until they got some respite from a power play. Joe Pavelski took a stick to the face from Rene Bourque at 8:57. The power play was short-lived as Brent Burns was called for interference just a minute in. Half a minute later, Justin Braun was called for holding.

The Sharks survived the brief four on three and the five on three that followed. Some seconds of five on four followed but the Sharks weathered it.

The Sharks got another chance on the power play at when Dalton Prout was called for cross-checking Mike Brown. The Sharks did not score but it was still an improvement over the previous attempt. By the end of the second, Columbus had the 2-1 lead on the scoreboard, and a 19-7 lead in shots for the period.

Late in the period, Tommy Wingels went to the dressing room. He had blocked a couple of shots earlier and seemed to be suffering the effects. He was back on the bench for the third period.

The Blue Jackets put the puck in the net at 2:23 of the third. DeBoer challenged the goal, as Scott Hartnett was standing in the blue paint for some time before the goal, impairing Stalock’s ability to move freely. Donskoi was blocking Hartnell’s exit, if he wanted to make one. The challenge came up empty, giving the Blue Jackets a 3-1 lead. The goal was Cam Atkinson’s, with assists to Nick Foligno and Hartnell.

The Sharks cut the lead to one goal, with a Justin Braun shot from the blue line, deflected in by Joe Pavelski at 6:13. The assists went to Braun and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

The Sharks then tied it up with a power play goal. Joel Ward was at the point and gave every indication he was looking for a shot. Brent Burns was lurking in the circle on the other side of the ice. Ward sent a quick pass through the penalty killers to Burns, who knocked it in before Bobrovsky could get across.

1:50 later, San Jose’s Chris Tierney won an offensive zone draw and Brenden Dillon caught the puck on its way to the blue line. He took a shot that Bobrovsky probably could not see, as Tierney was screening him as he made his way to the net.

The Blue Jackets pulled Bobrovsky with less than two minutes left. Seconds later, Pavelski stole the puck from Boone Jenner in the offensive zone and scored into the empty net.

Scott Hartnell picked up a misconduct in the final minutes, putting the Sharks on a power play for the final 1:16 of the game.

The final shot count was 31-29 Columbus, the final score 5-3 Sharks.

The Sharks next play on Wednesday at home against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Sharks Lose to Blue Jackets, Again

By Mary Walsh

For the second time this season, the San Jose Sharks fell to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Last time, the Sharks lost 5-4, this time it was 2-1. This was the Blue Jackets’ second win in a row, after a nine-game losing streak, mostly attributable to an unprecedented rash of injuries. The last game they won before that losing streak? October 25, in San Jose. It was the first game back for Sergei Bobrovsky after being out with a broken finger. This second win completes the Blue Jackets’ sweep of the season series between the teams.

After the game, Sharks forward Joe Pavelski said, of his team’s inability to string wins together: “That’s what it’s about, is winning, it’s always frustrating. This little seesaw here, win one, lose one, it’s… it gets old.

Pavelski scored the lone goal for the Sharks. Columbus goals were scored by David Savard and Cam Atkinson. Bobrovsky made 36 saves on 37 shots for the win, Antii Niemi made 26 saves on 28 shots for the Sharks.

Sharks head coach Todd McLellan did not see a lack of effort at the root of the Sharks’ loss:

This one, the effort was an honest one, so we have to live with an honest effort not winning at times. But we had a number of opportunities to put the puck in the net, we didn’t. Had a lot of pucks that were blocked or just deflected at the last second, probably not releasing it quick enough.

Defensively, McLellan saw some positives as well:

Defensively I didn’t think we gave up a lot, we had to open the game up a bit in the third, they had some chances. As far as stringing games together, there’s some frustration there, but the fact that for the most part we had a very competitive night was a positive.

The Blue Jackets scored first, near the end of the first period. Defenseman David Savard took a shot from above the faceoff circle, catching Niemi away from the post with Scott Hannan skating across in front of him. Assists went to Adam Cracknell and Artem Anisimov.

Brent Burns was called for tripping in the final seconds of the first period, putting the Sharks on the penalty kill to start the second. The Sharks took a second penalty 9:10 into the second when Andrew Desjardins was called for goalie interference.

The period ended with the Sharks barely ahead in shots 11-10, and trailing Columbus by one goal.

The Blue Jackets did not get a lot of shots in the period, despite that power play. With just over five minutes left, they only had credit for two shots on goal. The Sharks had eight in the same time frame, and had a power play as well at 11:17.

At 15:14, Mirco Mueller was called for interference and the Blue Jackets went back on the power play. Niemi made some good saves before Columbus beat him again. One cross- ice pass through traffic was followed by another that squeaked by in front of the crease. Cam Atkinson caught that pass and put it in to give the Blue Jackets a two goal lead. Assists went to Jack Johnson and Boone Jenner.

In the final minute of the period, Joe Pavelski broke Bobrovsky’s shut out and got the Sharks back in the game. Carrying the puck into the slot, Pavelski tried a backhand but could not get a handle on the puck. No one took it away from him so he turned around and shot it forehand.

At the end of the second, the Sharks led in shots 21-18.

During the first shift of the third period, Matt Nieto went awkwardly into the boards after a hit from Boone Jenner. He went to the dressing room after a stop at the bench, but came right back out.

Neither team sat back after that, staying even in shots and chances. With five minutes left in regulation, Alexander Wennberg high sticked Scott Hannan and drew blood, giving the Sharks a four minute man advantage. The Columbus penalty killers rose to the occasion and kept the Sharks from ever sustaining an attack. Bobrovsky ate up any chance of rebounds so that the blue paint became something of a dead zone for any puck that got close.

The penalty expired and McLellan pulled Niemi for the extra attacker but the Blue Jackets did not give an inch. The Sharks used their time out with under 30 seconds left. The Sharks did win the faceoff in the Blue Jackets zone, but they could not keep the puck in for long.

Final score: 2-1 Blue Jackets. The final shot count was 37-28 Sharks.

The Blue Jackets won 32 faceoffs to the Sharks’ 22. The Blue Jackets’ power play went 1/3, the Sharks was 0/3. The Blue Jackets blocked 19 shots to the Sharks’ 9.

Jason Demers and Patrick Marleau led the Sharks in shots with four each. Marc-Edouard Vlasic led the team in ice time at 22:03. Andrew Desjardins led the team in hits with three.

Cam Atkinson led the Blue Jackets in shots with five. David Savard led the team in ice time with 22:42, Nick Foligno led in hits with five.

San Jose’s scratches were Matt Irwin, Tye McGinn and John Scott.

The Sharks next play at 2:00 PT Sunday, against the Hurricanes in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Sharks win 4th in a row, tie for first place

by Jerry Feitelberg

PHOTO 5 OF 28 – SAN JOSE SHARKS VS. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS COLUMBUS, OH – MARCH 13: Matt Irwin #52 of the San Jose Sharks checks Cam Atkinson #13 of the Columbus Blue Jackets into the boards during the first period on March 13, 2014 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Sharks win in a shoot out, tie for first place

The San Jose Sharks (43-17-7) beat a young and very determined Columbus Blue Jacket (34-27-5) team Thursday night in Columbus by a score of 4-3. For the Sharks, it was their fourth win in a row and with the win they moved into a first place tie with the Anaheim Ducks in the Pacific Division.

The one sour note is that the Ducks have a game in hand and the lead may be short-lived.

Nonetheless, the Sharks won the first game of a short three game road trip against a Blue Jacket team that is striving to make the playoffs for only the second time in their

existence as a franchise in the NHL.

The Sharks gave regular goalie, Antti Niemi, the night off and replaced him with backup goalie Alex Stalock (11-4-1) in the nets. Stalock played very well and came up big in the shoot out as he stopped all three attempts by the Blue Jackets. Reigning Vezina Trophy winner, Sergei Bobrovsky, tended goal for the Blue Jackets. The Sharks had their hands full trying to beat Bobrovsky but they persevered and

kept the pressure on to win the game. The scoring summary follows below.

Columbus drew first blood when Ryan Johansen notched his 26th goal of the year. Johansen sent a wrist shot past Stalock when teammate Nick Foligno sprawled himself in front of the goal blocking Stalock’s view and Johansen put the shot into the back of the net. Foligno and Boone Jenner assisted. Time of goal was 5:28. The Sharks tied the game at 10:53 when Patrick Marleau tipped in a puck for his 27th tally of the season. Logan Couture fed the puck from the corner and Marleau skating to the net tipped it in past Bobrovsky for the score. Game tied at one. The Blue Jackets had eleven shots on goal while the Sharks were able to manage just nine.

In the second period, the Sharks went on a power play when R. J. Umberger went off for tripping.

At 2:22 David Savard also was hit with a penalty that gave the Sharks a 5 on 3 advantage. The Sharks could not take advantage of the situation and then, to make matters worse, Umberger, coming out of the penalty box, was able to get a pass and had a breakaway to score a short-handed goal to give Columbus a 2-1 lead. The Sharks allowed just their fourth short-handed goal of the year but it was the second one allowed in the last two games. There was no further scoring in the period. 2-1 after two periods of play.

Things did not bode well for the Sharks. Not only did the Sharks have a history of not faring well in Columbus but their record this season was 3-13-1 when trailing after two periods. The Sharks, however, came out fighting. They tied the score at two with just 15 seconds played in the period. Matt Nieto scored his ninth goal of the year with assists to Logan Couture and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. They then look a 3-2 lead when the Sharks finally scored on a power play. They had gone 0 for 20 since play resumed after the Olympics. Patrick Marleau scored his second goal of the game with help from Joe Pavelski and Dan Boyle. Columbus refused to lay down and continued to play hard. They kept the pressure on and were able to put the puck in the net when James Wisniewski was able to beat Stalock. The Sharks were all on the right side of the net and somehow Wisniewski found himself all alone with the puck. Stalock moved out to cut down on the angle but Wisniewski banged it in over Stalock’s shoulder for the score. The game went to overtime and neither team could score. In the shootout, Stalock stopped all three Columbus attempts while Joe Pavelski beat Bobrovsky for the winning goal.

Notes- The Shark’s goalie, Alex Stalock, said that the team is a “loose group with success on the road all year.” Coach Todd McLellan had this to say about the Blue Jackets after the game. “"That team plays hard," "They’re as competitive as any team in the league. They’re physical. They’ve got good body position when they enter the zone. They throw a lot of pucks to the net. If we weren’t ready to go we wouldn’t have come close to getting the result we got tonight."

The Sharks play the Islanders on Friday night and finish the road trip Sunday against the New York Rangers.

Sharks earn win before Olympic Break

By: Phillip Torres

SAN JOSE-The San Jose Sharks (37-16-6) defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets (29-24-5) 3-2 at the SAP Center in San Jose on Friday night. The victory was just was the Sharks were looking for before heading into the Olympic break. Not only was it the last game before the 2014 Sochi Olympics, but it was also Sharks head coach Todd McLellan’s franchise-record 435 game with San Jose.

The Sharks jumped out to the early advantage as they took the 1-0 lead at the 3:23 mark in the opening period. John McCarthy scored his first goal the year after he deflected the puck into the net after James Sheppard’s shot did not find the net.

San Jose’s fast start continued as they found themselves up 2-0 after another goal less than five minutes later. This time it was Patrick Marleau finding the net with a slapshot. Scott Hannan earned the assist on the play. The Sharks dominated early and finished the first period with a 2-0 advantage.

The lone goal of the second period came at 18 seconds as the Blue Jackets cut the deficit in half. Ryan Johansen scored the unassisted goal for his 24th goal on the season and pulled his team to within one. The rest of the period was played with very stout defenses and both respective teams could not find the net. The score remained 2-1 San Jose heading into the third and final period.

Tommy Wingels gave the Sharks their two goal lead right back early into the frame. At 5:11 Wingels knocked a back hand shot into the net. Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Jason Demers picked up the assists on the shot.  The goal proved to be the eventual game winner as Columbus would tack on one more goal, but ultimately fall short 3-2 on Friday.

With the victory the Sharks finish at the break with 80 points, just five behind the Anaheim Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division.

 “We would have been probably pleased with that at the beginning of the season. Considering some of the players we lost over and throughout the year, we go into the break satisfied. Coming out of it we have work to do,” said McLellan.

With the Sochi Olympics set take off, the Sharks will not be back on the ice until Thursday February 27th. San Jose will be Philadelphia Flyers in Philadelphia. The puck will drop at 4:00 P.M Pacific Standard Time.