The San Jose Sharks have certainly had their share of troubles at home this season, but playing there against the Columbus Blue Jackets has never been a problem.
After having their three-game winning streak at HP Pavilion end, the Sharks look to continue their home dominance versus the Blue Jackets on Friday night.
|Evgeni Nabokov has allowed two goals or less in four straight home games. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
On Jan. 3, San Jose (29-17-7) was just 6-9-4 at home. The Sharks, however, have settled down there since then, going 6-2-0 before a 3-1 loss to Colorado on Wednesday. Friday's contest will be the third of a six-game homestand for the Sharks, and a matchup with the Columbus (26-23-7) seems to give the San Jose a good opportunity to rebound from Wednesday's defeat.
The Sharks are 12-0-1 all-time at home against the Blue Jackets, outscoring them 53-20 and holding them two goals or less in 11 of those contests.
Evgeni Nabokov has started nine times at home in this series, going 8-1-0 with a 1.42 goals-against average. He stopped 21 shots in San Jose's 3-2 home win over Columbus on Jan. 5 in the teams' last meeting.
He has allowed two goals or less in four straight home games overall, including Wednesday's loss to the Avalanche. Nabokov was pulled with 1:30 remaining, and San Jose gave up an empty-net goal.
The eight-year veteran kept the Sharks in that game as they were held under two goals for the first time since a 1-0 win over St. Louis on Dec. 28. San Jose is the only team in the Western Conference without a 20-goal scorer, and it has found the back of the net just 137 times.
Sharks captain Patrick Marleau, who scored Wednesday, felt San Jose did a good chance of creating opportunities, but needs to capitalize.
"It would be nice to see some going in, but the first step is getting the chances," he said.
|Jason Chimera (right) respondend to his four-year contract extension with a goal. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
The Sharks, however, have scored 25 goals in their last six home games versus Columbus.
Blue Jackets backup Fredrik Norrena gave up the game-winning goal after relieving Pascal Leclaire in the third period of January's matchup with San Jose. Leclaire is expected to miss at least two games due to a bruised neck suffered during Tuesday night's 4-3 overtime loss to Washington, making Norrena the likely starter for Friday's game.
Columbus recalled Steve Mason from Kitchener of the Ontario Hockey League on Wednesday to back up Norrena. The Blue Jackets also announced the signing of winger Jason Chimera to a four-year contract extension through the 2011-12 season.
The next day, Chimera came through with a goal in the first period of a 2-1 win over Phoenix to move the Blue Jackets within one point of the 10th-place Coyotes in the West.
Chimera has nine goals and 14 assists in 55 games this season. He also has the longest games-played streak in franchise history, having appeared in his 218th consecutive game Thursday
Chimera had an assist in the only other game played between Columbus and San Jose this season, a 2-1 Blue Jackets win on Oct. 27.