SHARKS 3 | BLUE JACKETS 2
SAN JOSE, CA
Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards offered a succinct and appopriate summation of tonight's game: "There was desperation in our game...but they were better than us. They were harder, and they played faster than us."
FINAL: SHARKS 3 | BLUE JACKETS 2
And it's not that the Blue Jackets
played a poor game in their final pre-Olympic showing, but the Sharks - much like the Los Angeles Kings a night earlier - were a desperate team that needed two points in a big way in what was also their final game before the break. The Sharks, as they so often do at SAP Center, started fast and scored two first-period goals to get the Blue Jackets off their game.
For the first time in a while, Columbus found itself chasing the game. The Blue Jackets were down a pair on two relatively innocuous plays, a re-direct from a tough angle and another deflection on a slap shot through heavy traffic, but they were not being outplayed. In fact, their game got stronger even the Sharks
' second goal and Columbus had a goal called back later in the first period.
On the first shift of the second period, the Blue Jackets got on the board with a big goal to cut the Sharks' lead in half. Ryan Johansen intercepted an outlet pass just inside the Sharks blue line and ripped a quick shot past Antti Niemi. They pushed hard for the second goal, but in a 2-1 game, the old agage is that the next goal is the most important...and unfortunately for the Jackets, the Sharks got it.
Tommy Wingels banged in a loose puck in the crease early in the third period, a huge goal for San Jose and it turned out to be the game-winner. The Blue Jackets head into the break with a 1-1-1 record on their California road trip, in three games against three of the top teams in the NHL
The Wingels goal was the goal the Jackets wish they had for themselves. It was the biggest goal of the game and in a one-shot game, gave the Sharks a bit of cushion as they tried to close the deal in the third period. The Jackets would get one closer, but the third goal was the game-changer.
1. TOMMY WINGELS (SJS)
In what became a chippy game, Wingels was a source of energy for the Sharks and he tallied the game-winner in the third period.
2. SERGEI BOBROVSKY (CBJ)
Tremendous performance from Bobrovsky tonight on the second night of a tough back-to-back; he made 44 saves (a season-high) in a losing effort but he's a big reason why the Jackets were even within shouting distance tonight.
3. JOHN MCCARTHY (SJS)
His icebreaker was a welcome gift for the Sharks, who got a rare goal from their fourth line to open the scoring.
THE OLYMPIC BREAK.
See you on Feb. 27 in New Jersey!