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At the Rink: Sharks at Blue Jackets

by Craig Merz

COLUMBUS -- The Columbus Blue Jackets will welcome back from injury starting goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and center Artem Anisimov for the game Saturday against the San Jose Sharks in Nationwide Arena, but defenseman Fedor Tyutin will not play because of a left knee injury.

"The Russians can't stay together, for God's sake," Blue Jackets left wing Nick Foligno said. "They'll hang out off the ice but on the ice we can't get them together."

His joke highlighted the continuing injury problems that have plagued the Blue Jackets (5-10-1) and contributed to a nine-game losing streak before a 4-3 win Friday at the Philadelphia Flyers. The Blue Jackets are still down eight players because of injuries, the latest being Tyutin after a knee-on-knee collision with the Flyers' Jakub Voracek.

Tyutin is expected to miss four to six weeks. Saturday, the St. Louis Blues traded defenseman Jordan Leopold to Columbus for a fifth-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. Leopold may be available to play against the Sharks.

Anisimov missed seven games with a concussion and Bobrovsky was out seven with a fractured finger on his left hand before being activated Friday, although he did not play. Bobrovsky is 4-4-0 with a 2.81 goals-against average this season. The Blue Jackets are 1-6-1 when he doesn't play.

"He's a top end goaltender, one of the elite goaltenders in this League," Columbus coach Todd Richards said. "He's an important part of this team. Getting him back gives us some energy in the room."

Expect the Sharks (9-7-2) to test Bobrovsky early. San Jose is coming off a 2-1 win Thursday at the Tampa Bay Lightning following a 4-1 defeat at the Florida Panthers two days prior.

"We have to shoot as many pucks on him at the start of the game as we can," Sharks center Logan Couture said. "That's what we did at Tampa. We got a lot of pucks to the net and had a lot of scoring chances."

In addition to Bobrovsky's return, the Blue Jackets have several reasons to be happy that Anisimov (two goals, two assists in nine games) is healthy.

"We've had struggles on our penalty kill," Richards said. "Getting him back should help on the penalty kill. The other area is we've been getting killed in the faceoff circle. He needs to come in and help us out in that area."

The talk in the locker rooms Saturday was building from victories.

"One win isn't going to make a difference," Foligno said. "We've got to find a way to string a few together. That's our focus [Saturday]."

San Jose coach Todd McLellan said the game against Tampa Bay was one of the most complete this season for the Sharks.

"It was a good bounce-back game from the effort, or lack of effort, we had in Florida," he said.

Here are the projected lineups:


Matt Nieto - Logan Couture - Patrick Marleau

Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Barclay GoodrowJames SheppardTommy Wingels

Tye McGinn - Andrew Desjardins - Tyler Kennedy

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun

Mirco Mueller - Brent Burns

Scott Hannan - Jason Demers

Antti Niemi

Troy Grosenick

Scratched: John Scott, Adam Burish, Matt Irwin

Injured: Mike Brown (hand), Raffi Torres (knee), Alex Stalock (lower body)


Brian Gibbons - Ryan Johansen - Nick Foligno

Scott Hartnell - Boone Jenner - Cam Atkinson

Alexander Wennberg - Artem AnisimovAdam Cracknell

Corey Tropp - Michael Chaput - Jared Boll

Jack Johnson - Dalton Prout

Jordan Leopold - David Savard

Tim Erixon - James Wisniewski

Sergei Bobrovsky

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Dana Tyrell, Frederic St. Denis

Injured: Fedor Tyutin (knee), Brandon Dubinsky (lower body), Mark Letestu (groin), Matt Calvert (upper body), Jack Skille (undisclosed), Nathan Horton (back), Ryan Murray (knee), Cody Goloubef (knee)

Status report: Tyrell will be a healthy scratch because of Anisimov's return… Grosenick could make his NHL debut Sunday when the Sharks play at the Carolina Hurricanes. "We really believe in what Troy did in training camp and he will play, but I can't tell you what we'll do [Sunday]," McLellan said.

Who's hot: The Blue Jackets' three power-play goals against the Flyers was the second time they've scored that many in the past three games… Thornton has three goals and two assists during a four-game point-scoring streak.

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