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San Jose Sharks coach Ron Wilson is pleased with his team's power play. He's just a bit concerned that the Sharks are overly reliant on it.
San Jose begin a five-game road trip Monday against the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets, as Wilson looks for better work when his team is at even strength.
"We almost think we've been scoring so many power play goals, that's where a lot of our offense has come from," Wilson said. "We seem to be (thinking) 'Let's wait for a power play and bury them there."'
San Jose (6-2-0) has scored an NHL-leading 14 goals on the power play out of its 29 total goals on the season. Five of the Sharks' last six goals have come with the man advantage.
The Sharks failed to convert four power-play chances Saturday, managing only a third-period goal from Patrick Marleau at even strength in a 4-1 loss to Minnesota.
Wilson didn't like his team's approach on offense.
"We couldn't get anything going," Wilson said after the Sharks lost despite outshooting the Wild 32-18. "We got frustrated and started playing one-on-one."
The coach doesn't want his team to fall into the same trap against Columbus (2-3-1), which has struggled with its penalty-killing unit early in the season. The Blue Jackets have killed off just 77.5 percent (31 of 40) of opponents' power plays.
That's just one of several problem areas for Columbus, which has lost three straight after a 5-3 defeat at Pittsburgh on Saturday. The Blue Jackets are 2-for-21 on the power play during the losing streak, and star left wing Rick Nash hasn't registered a point in the last three games.
Special teams were a major problem Saturday as Columbus allowed two short-handed goals, including one on a penalty shot. In addition, Pittsburgh was 3-for-9 with the man-advantage.
"We were doing a lot of penalty killing out there," Blue Jackets left wing Jason Chimera said.
Pascal Leclaire is expected to be back in goal for Columbus after 32-year-old goalie Fredrik Norrena stopped 29 of 34 shots in his NHL debut after more than a decade of professional hockey in Europe.
"It was tough for him because of all the chances they had and all the power plays," said coach Gerard Gallant about Norrena.
It is unclear whether center Sergei Federov will make his season debut for Columbus. The veteran has missed the first six games with a shoulder injury and is expected back sometime this week - either Monday or Friday for a home game against Los Angeles.
Columbus and San Jose split four meetings last year, with the home team winning each time by three goals. Nash played in two of those meetings and scored twice in each game.