BLUE JACKETS (4-7-2) 6, SHARKS (7-3-2) 2
NATIONWIDE ARENA | COLUMBUS, OH
The Blue Jackets started and finished this game with a flurry, but the stuff in between wasn't too shabby either.
Facing a San Jose club that was well-rested and looking to get a lengthy road swing started on the right foot, the Blue Jackets put together a second consecutive 60-minute effort and routed the Sharks by a 6-2 final at Nationwide Arena. It was a night of firsts -- highlighted by Brandon Dubinsky's first goal as a Blue Jacket and Cody Goloubef's first NHL goal -- and it all amounted to a fifth consecutive loss for the Sharks.
Dubinsky, who had been doing everything but light the lamp, allowed just 43 seconds to elapse before scoring the opening goal. His line with Matt Calvert and Nick Foligno was terrific in the game and was dangerous each time it hopped over the boards, and they just so happened to score on their first shift. Calvert chopped the puck back toward Sharks goalie Thomas Greiss who had a hard time handling it, and Dubinsky outmuscled a Sharks defenseman to sweep it into the net.
The Blue Jackets widened their margin to two goals late in the second period, and it was started by a furious push on the power play. Though they failed to capitalize on a two-man advantage, the tail end of the 5-on-4 produced a beautiful goal by James Wisniewski. Derick Brassard got the puck on a cycle play along the goal line and made a perfect saucer pass to Wisniewski, who was waiting right between the dots. He unleashed a laser that Greiss could only wave at, and 71 seconds later, it was Goloubef with his so-called "patented half-slapper" that made it a 3-0 game.
After Patrick Marleau scored 13 seconds later, it was an entirely different hockey game.
Columbus entered the third period leading 3-1 and had outplayed the Sharks by a sizable margin, but even Todd Richards knew the visitors would likely come out guns blazing. That was silenced rather quickly, as Nikita Nikitin started the final period with a wicked wrister 21 seconds in to extend the lead to 4-1.
Vinny Prospal finished off a sweet pass from Foligno to make it 5-1 at 5:37, and eight seconds after that, Mark Letestu scored his team-leading fifth of the year on an oddball floater that Greiss couldn't get a beat on.
Steve Mason made 25 saves, and in the second period, might have done his best work. The Sharks had some opportunities off the rush -- including a point-blank chance for Logan Couture -- but Mason held the fort.
The Nikitin goal opened the floodgates, and the Blue Jackets really needed it. They had done exactly what they wanted to do ("empty the tanks") and had a two-goal lead, but the fourth goal put it away.
- Big night for the Fedor Tyutin - Nikitin pairing, which was a combined +6 and and chipped in a pair of points. They played a lot of minutes against the Joe Thornton line and made San Jose's top unit a virtual non-factor.
- Joe Pavelski, who usually racks up some points against Columbus, scored a goal but was essentially ineffective. He was a -2 on the night and only took two shots, one of which was a third period power play goal.
- Fourteen different Blue Jackets recorded at least a point tonight, and there were six different goal-scorers. Talk about spreading around the offense.
- The Blue Jackets have scored 12 goals in their last two home games against the Sharks. There must be something in the water (poor shark reference, sorry).
at Los Angeles Kings
Friday, 10 p.m.