The Columbus Blue Jackets aren't going away in the race for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 30 shots for his fourth career shutout -- all in his past 15 games -- and newcomer Marian Gaborik had a goal and an assist Tuesday, leading the Blue Jackets to a 4-0 win against the San Jose Sharks at Nationwide Arena.
The Blue Jackets moved within two points of the eighth-place Detroit Red Wings, who have a game in hand, as they try to make the playoffs for the second time in franchise history.
"The most important thing is we have to get the two points," said Gaborik, acquired six days ago from the New York Rangers at the NHL Trade Deadline. "We scored four goals and Bob was great. The overall effort for the whole team was there tonight."
The Blue Jackets have gotten points in 17 of their past 21 games (12-4-5). They had a four-game home winning streak ended when they lost 3-0 to the Minnesota Wild on Sunday. That defeat also snapped a club-record 12-game points streak at home (9-0-3).
"Bobby was good, but I've seen him play better," Columbus coach Todd Richards said of his goaltender. "As a group in front of him, we were pretty solid. That was a good 60 minutes tonight. It was all four lines, all six defensemen."
San Jose remained fifth in the Western Conference with 47 points, but is just four points above eighth place.
The Sharks were coming off a seven-game homestand on which they picked up 13 of 14 possible points, losing in overtime to the Dallas Stars on Sunday before hitting the road. This was the opener of a four-game trip.
“We skated in sand, and even worse we probably had our heads in the sand," an unhappy coach Todd McLellan said after his team's second blowout loss in Columbus this season. "That’s a bad combination. We had the intensity of an exhibition game -- and it's April. That's sad."
Columbus had been manhandled in the second period 48 hours earlier by Minnesota, but this time it was the Blue Jackets who took charge. Up 1-0, they had 11 of the first 12 shots while scoring twice.
Less than two minutes later, Gaborik, playing his second home game for the Blue Jackets, set up Johansen to make it 3-0. Gaborik evaded two Sharks in the right circle and slid a backhand pass to Johansen in the slot. He went down to one knee on the one-timer and put it high into the net.
"We had something to prove after getting shut out at home," defenseman Jack Johnson said. "Our backs were against the wall. You're going to come out with a real fire in your belly knowing you can't afford to drop another one."
Gaborik benefited from a perfect setup from Artem Anisimov, a former teammate with the Rangers, to complete the scoring at 7:16 of the third period. Gaborik got behind the defense, took Anisimov's pass, faked Niemi to the ice with a forehand and then tapped in the puck with a backhand.
San Jose's Adam Burish beat Bobrovsky with 5:21 left in the third, but the goal was waved off because he was in the crease.
"We made some errors we don't normally do and they took advantage," Marleau said. "Our game's probably slipped a little bit, but it's easily correctible. We'll regroup and get ready to go again."
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report
|Matt Calvert (8) ASST: Cam Atkinson (7), Mark Letestu (12)|
1 - 0 CBJ
|James Wisniewski (5) ASST: Adrian Aucoin (3), Derek MacKenzie (4)|
2 - 0 CBJ
|Ryan Johansen (3) ASST: Marian Gaborik (13), Vinny Prospal (13)|
3 - 0 CBJ
|Marian Gaborik (11) ASST: Artem Anisimov (7), Jack Johnson (12)|
4 - 0 CBJ
|James Sheppard Slashing against Adrian Aucoin|
|Adrian Aucoin Interference against James Sheppard|
|Dan Boyle Interference against R.J. Umberger|
|TJ Galiardi Interference on goalkeeper against Sergei Bobrovsky|
|Matt Calvert Interference against Matt Irwin|