Blue Jackets-Sharks Preview
GAME: Columbus Blue Jackets (1-2-0) at San Jose Sharks (1-2-0).
TIME: Wednesday, 10:30 p.m. EDT.
After beginning the season on a three-game road trip, the San Jose Sharks start their home schedule Wednesday night at the HP Pavilion.
The Sharks went 24-8-7-2 at home in 2003-04, lifting them atop the Pacific Division. San Jose's defense has struggled, giving up 11 goals in three games so far.
San Jose concluded its season-opening three-game road trip Saturday with a thrilling 7-6 win over the St. Louis Blues. Jonathan Cheechoo scored with 1:54 remaining for the Sharks, who rallied from a 5-3 deficit in the start of the third period.
"It's always nice to get a win as quick as possible so you can build on it, especially that kind of win," said goalie Evgeni Nabokov, who finished with 20 saves. "I think our guys deserve a lot of credit."
Tom Preissing, Brad Stuart and Niko Dimitrakos all scored in the third period and coach Ron Wilson was surprised by the way his team played while facing a deficit.
"It was the first kind of adversity we'd faced all year," Wilson said. "In the preseason, we went 7-0, and I don't think we were really trailing anybody. For some of the guys, it was an eye-opener."
Columbus is also coming off its first win of the season 3-2 Sunday over the Chicago Blackhawks. Former Blackhawk Bryan Berard scored and set up Jody Shelley's eventual game-winner for Columbus.
Jason Chimera also scored in his debut for Columbus, which had just three goals in its first two games. Chimera had been acquired in a trade Saturday from the Phoenix Coyotes along with Cale Hulse and Mike Rupp for Geoff Sanderson and Tim Jackman.
"Obviously the player personnel movement of the last few days probably gave us a boost," goalie Marc Denis said. "Chimmy gave us a huge boost on his first shift scoring a big goal and getting us going there."
Rick Nash did not play Sunday and remains day-to-day with a sprained ankle.
STANDINGS (through Oct. 10): Blue Jackets - 2 points, 3rd place (tied), 4 PB, Central Division. Sharks - 2 points, 3rd place (tied), 2 PB, Pacific Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Blue Jackets - Dan Fritsche, 2 goals; Nikolai Zherdev, 2 assists; four tied with 2 points; Manny Malhotra and Adam Foote, 8 PIM. Sharks - Patrick Marleau, Dimitrakos and Nils Ekman, 2 goals; four tied with 2 assists; Marleau, Dimitrakos and Milan Michalek, 3 points; Scott Hannan, 8 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 10): Blue Jackets - Power play: 11.1 percent (2 for 18), 24th in NHL. Penalty killing: 87.5 percent (21 for 24), 10th. Sharks - Power play: 16.6 percent (3 for 18), 16th. Penalty killing: 66.6 percent (12 for 18), 29th.
GOALTENDERS: Blue Jackets - Denis (1-1-0, 0 SO, 2.50 GAA); Pascal Leclaire (0-1-0, 0, 3.05). Sharks - Nabokov (1-1-0, 0, 4.23); Vesa Toskala (0-1-0, 0, 10.43).
2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Sharks, 3-0-0-1.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 23, 2004; Sharks, 4-2. At San Jose, Calif., Cheechoo scored twice in the third period and Nabokov made 24 saves for San Jose.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blue Jackets - 1-1-0 on the road; Sharks - 0-0-0 at home.