COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - In only their seventh game of the season, the Columbus Blue Jackets felt they almost had to win. They did.
Jason Chimera scored twice and Adam Foote added his first goal with Columbus, leading the Blue Jackets to a 4-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Friday night.
The Blue Jackets were reeling after going 1-3 on a road trip and came into the game with the fewest points (2) and fewest goals (11) in the NHL.
``We needed to get a win and get some confidence,'' Foote said. ``We had a long week of practice going over some things. We did a lot of little things better than we did on the road trip and it really helped.''
David Vyborny also scored for Columbus, which was opening a five-game homestand, while Marc Denis made 24 saves.
Scott Thornton had the lone goal for the Sharks, who lost their third straight.
``We had three or four guys who simply weren't ready to play,'' San Jose coach Ron Wilson said. ``That shouldn't happen. As a professional athlete you should take pride in every performance. It shouldn't take a period and then getting ripped between the first and second periods to kind of wake up.''
While trying to stop a breakaway by Columbus' Nikolai Zherdev, Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov was rammed by teammate Christian Ehrhoff, who was trailing the play, and driven into the boards. Nabokov stayed on the ice for several minutes, then got up and played for one minute before skating into the dressing room. He did not return.
Sharks officials said he had upper-body stiffness and would undergo tests.
The Blue Jackets didn't waste any time getting to Nabokov's replacement, Vesa Toskala.
Five seconds into a power play later in the period, Columbus' Manny Malhotra won a faceoff in the defensive end and the puck slid all the way to Chimera at mid-ice. He skated across the blue line and his slap shot beat Toskala on the glove side for a 2-1 lead.
``We had a couple of lackluster performances on the road,'' said Chimera, playing his first game on home ice since being acquired in a trade from Phoenix on Oct. 8. ``It's nice to get back home and start the homestand off right. We came out with a good effort.''
Malhotra has an assist in his last five games.
With less than a second left in the period, Jan Hrdina won a faceoff in the Blue Jackets offensive zone and Bryan Berard fed Foote at the right point. Foote, a former Colorado Avalanche mainstay who was Columbus' biggest free agent signing this summer, unloaded a slap shot for a 3-1 lead.
``I was surprised because I thought we ran out of time there,'' Foote said. ``Then when the ref pointed, I was like, 'Wow.' I was a bit surprised, but I'll take that.''
Chimera scored his third goal of the season in the third period, taking a pass from Tyler Wright on a rush and coming in unobstructed on Toskala, faking and scoring on a backhand.
The Blue Jackets weathered three power plays in the opening minutes before breaking through on Vyborny's first goal of the season. Carrying the puck in from the right wing, he swooped past Brad Stuart and then skated laterally in front of the net, patiently waiting until Nabokov hit the ice before going high over his right shoulder for the unassisted goal.
``We have had trouble on the road in the franchise's first four seasons,'' Columbus coach Gerard Gallant said. ``It was big tonight to come home after a tough road trip and play a good game and win against a good hockey team.''
Notes: The Sharks dropped to 13-4-0-1 all-time against Columbus. ... Toskala gave up three goals on 15 shots. ... The game was the third of a six-game road trip for San Jose, which is 1-4-1 away from home this season. ... Each team was 1-for-7 on the power play.
|David Vyborny (1) ASST: NONE|
1 - 0 CBJ
|PPG - Scott Thornton (2) ASST: Jonathan Cheechoo (3), Christian Ehrhoff (1)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Jason Chimera (2) ASST: Manny Malhotra (5)|
2 - 1 CBJ
|Adam Foote (1) ASST: Bryan Berard (3), Jan Hrdina (1)|
3 - 1 CBJ
|Jason Chimera (3) ASST: Tyler Wright (2), Luke Richardson (2)|
4 - 1 CBJ
|Brad Stuart Tripping against Manny Malhotra|
|Nikolay Zherdev Tripping|
|Tyler Wright Tripping against Patrick Marleau|
|Luke Richardson Interference against Scott Hannan|
|Jody Shelley Cross checking against Kyle McLaren|
|Scott Thornton Holding against Adam Foote|
|Manny Malhotra Tripping|
|Christian Ehrhoff Slashing against Nikolay Zherdev|
|Jim Fahey Interference against Jody Shelley|
|Jody Shelley Boarding against Jim Fahey|
|Radoslav Suchy Interference against Milan Michalek|
|Rob Davison Hi-sticking against Jason Chimera|
|Marco Sturm Holding the stick against Francois Beauchemin|
|Niko Dimitrakos Slashing|
|Jonathan Cheechoo Holding against Duvie Westcott|
|Mike Rupp Roughing against Jonathan Cheechoo|