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Blue Jackets at Sharks preview

Columbus can stretch road point streak to 10 games; San Jose plays first without injured Couture

by Ross McKeon / Independent Correspondent

BLUE JACKETS (21-15-8) at SHARKS (19-22-4)

10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCA, FS-O, NHL.TV


The Game

The Columbus Blue Jackets will try to extend the longest active road point streak in the NHL to 10 games when they visit the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Thursday.

The Blue Jackets, 6-0-3 in their past nine games away from home and 10-1-4 in their past 15 overall, can match the second-longest road point streak in their history (9-0-1, March 6-April 11, 2015). The Columbus record for longest such stretch is 11 games (10-0-1, Nov. 20-Dec. 31, 2016).

Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella will be behind the bench for his 1,032nd NHL game to pass Mike Babcock (1,301) for 12th place on the NHL all-time list.

The Sharks will play their first game without center Logan Couture, who will be out approximately six weeks because of a fractured left ankle sustained in a 3-2 loss at the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday.

San Jose is winless in two straight (0-1-1) and is 3-2-2 in its past seven games after going 1-8-1 in their previous 10 games.


Players to watch

Blue Jackets forward Gustav Nyquist will play at San Jose against his former team for the first time since signing a four-year contract with Columbus on July 1, 2019.

Sharks forward Timo Meier has four points (one goal, three assists) in a three-game point streak.


They said it 

"We have a group belief. That's during our in-between days, that's during the game, and I think that's very important to keep playing as a team and believing in what we're doing." -- Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella on earning points in 14 of 15 games despite numerous injuries

"I've been stressing from a coaching standpoint that we can't worry about where we're going to be in March. … we start thinking long-term and thinking about how many points we're out of it, you can just drive yourself crazy." -- Sharks coach Bob Boughner


Blue Jackets projected lineup

Gustav Nyquist -- Pierre-Luc Dubois -- Nathan Gerbe

Sonny Milano -- Boone Jenner -- Nick Foligno

Emil Bemstrom -- Alexander Wennberg -- Kevin Stenlund

Eric Robinson -- Riley Nash -- Jakob Lilja

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Vladislav Gavrikov -- David Savard

Scott Harrington -- Markus Nutivaara

Elvis Merzlikins

Matiss Kivlenieks

Scratched: Ryan MacInnis, Gabriel Carlsson

Injured: Brandon Dubinsky (wrist), Cam Atkinson (ankle), Josh Anderson (shoulder), Oliver Bjorkstrand (rib, oblique), Ryan Murray (lower body), Joonas Korpisalo (knee), Andrew Peeke (finger), Alexandre Texier (back), Dean Kukan (knee)


Sharks projected lineup

Evander Kane -- Tomas Hertl -- Kevin Labanc

Timo Meier -- Antti Suomela -- Patrick Marleau

Marcus Sorensen -- Joe Thornton -- Barclay Goodrow  

Antti Suomela -- Joel Kellman -- Melker Karlsson

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Erik Karlsson

Brenden Dillon -- Brent Burns

Radim Simek -- Mario Ferraro

Aaron Dell

Martin Jones

Scratched: Joachim Blichfeld, Tim Heed

Injured: Logan Couture (fractured ankle), Dalton Prout (upper body)


Status report

Columbus will go with the same lineup it did in a 4-3 win at the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday. … Hertl will take Couture's spot at center on the first line. 


Stat pack

Merzlikins is 4-1-0 with 2.01 goals-against average and.940 save percentage in five starts since taking over for the injured Korpisalo. … Thornton will play in his 1,612th game to tie Ray Bourque for 11th place on the NHL all-time list.

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