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FINAL: SHARKS 3 | BLUE JACKETS 2
WATCH: Boone Jenner's 3rd period goal
GAME AUDIO: Boone Jenner gets us right back in it in the third! | LISTEN
SECOND PERIOD ANALYSIS: A much better period for the Blue Jackets, who cut into the Sharks lead on the first shift of hte second period on a goal from Ryan Johansen. The Sharks turned the puck over on a breakout, and Johansen was in great position as the high forward to intercept the pass. He settled it down and fired a quick wrister throught traffic that Antti Niemi never got a good read on, and it brought the Jackets within a goal at 2-1. That was all the scoring for the second period, and the Blue Jackets had to rely on their penalty killing (back stopped by Bobrovsky) to keep it a one-goal game entering the third period. There's a pretty big third period looming at the Shark Tank.
WATCH: Ryan Johansen's 2nd period goal
GAME AUDIO: Ryan Johansen gets us back in it with a goal early in the second period! | LISTEN
FIRST PERIOD ANALYSIS: Tough start for the Blue Jackets, but they knew the Sharks would come flying out of the gates tonight. San Jose has not played well of late and has uncharacterstically struggled at home (a place that's been a house of horrors for opponents over the years) but they turned the tide in the opening 20 minutes tonight. John McCarthy scored a goal on a weird deflection at the side of the net, and later in the period, Scott Hannan scored on a wobbly slap shot to make it 2-0 Sharks. The Blue Jackets certainly had their chances, a Johansen breakway in the opening minutes missed high, and they also had a goal disallowed after video review determined Boone Jenner's stick above the crossbar.
MORNING SKATE: The Blue Jackets close out their pre-Olympic schedule tonight by the Bay, taking on the Sharks in a 10:30 p.m. start at the SAP Center in San Jose. The Jackets' morning schedule (skate/optional/meeting) has not yet been determined, but we'll have game day coverage for you right here at Game Day Central. Also, look for lineup changes, thoughts on the match-up against the Sharks, storylines from the other side and an interview with coach Todd Richards. Stay tuned to this page for the latest!
The Blue Jackets had a couple of defensemen dinged up in Thursday night's game against Los Angeles. James Wisniewski, who was game-time decision and only took a few minutes' worth of warm-ups, blocked two shots in the third period and limped to the bench late in the game.
Ryan Murray took a high hit from Kings captain Dustin Brown but eventually returned to the game. Richards said they're expecting Murray to be fine, but in the event a defenseman is needed, both Tim Erixon and Cody Goloubef are still with the club.
The phrase "empty the tanks" is often uttered in sports - and the Kings were going by that same mentality last night at STAPLES Center. It was their final game before the Olympic break, and both the Sharks and Blue Jackets find themselves in that boat tonight.
Both teams want to go into the break on a winning note and for the Blue Jackets, they're looking to continue collecting points as their three-game trek through California concludes at SAP Center in San Jose - one of the toughest environments in the NHL.
The Sharks and Blue Jackets have not met since a memorable finish in San Jose in late April; the Sharks, down 3-1 in the third period, scored a pair of goals midway through the third to tie the game and, at the time, it appeared as though the teams were destined for overtime.
But a steal, reload and sick wrister from Ryan Johansen gave Columbus a 4-3 lead in the final two minutes of regulation. It stood up as the game-winner in one of the classic finishes during the Jackets' 19-5-5 run down the stretch a year ago. In order to produce a similar result tonight, the Blue Jackets have to bring their strong team game and commit to checking a Sharks team that likes to push the pace and stay on the attack.
AT NEW JERSEY DEVILS
FEB. 27, 7 P.M.