Blue Jackets-Sharks Preview
GAME: Columbus Blue Jackets (10-23-4-3) at San Jose Sharks (17-10-11-3).
TIME: Thursday, 10:30 p.m. EST.
After a successful road trip, the San Jose Sharks look to extend their
franchise-record home unbeaten streak to 12 games when they meet the Columbus
Blue Jackets, who have never won at HP Pavilion.
San Jose beat the Vancouver Canucks 2-1 on Monday for its third win in four
games on its trip. Scott Thornton tied it 8:46 into the third period, and
Patrick Marleau scored with 38.6 seconds left as the Sharks improved to 7-1-1
in their last nine contests.
"To be honest with you, the last seven or eight minutes, we're playing for
a tie -- we want a point on the road, especially here," San Jose coach Ron
Wilson said. "And at the same time, be ready to attack any mistakes."
The Sharks now return home where they've gone 7-0-4 since a 4-3 loss in
overtime to the Boston Bruins on Nov. 13.
"We're going in the right direction," Sharks forward Nils Ekman said.
"We're getting positive publicity, and hopefully people will get behind the
team and support us."
San Jose is expected to have starting goalie Evgeni Nabokov back after he
missed Monday's game to attend a friend's funeral in Toronto.
The Sharks have won all six meetings with the Blue Jackets in San Jose, and
are facing a Columbus squad that has won just two of its 18 road games this
The Blue Jackets fell to 1-2 on their season-high, seven-game trip with a
6-0 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday.
Columbus has been shut out three times in its last four games, and has
earned just seven points in its last 16 contests (2-11-1-2).
Against the Avs, Columbus failed on a lengthy power play in the first period
as Colorado had three players in the penalty box at the same time. But the Blue
Jackets couldn't convert, including two full minutes with a 5-on-3 advantage.
"We had some chances to score in the first on the power play," Blue
Jackets interim coach Gerard Gallant said, "and we never capitalized on that.
That hurt us big time.
"We were pretty happy coming out of the first 0-0, then all of a sudden
they throw 18 scoring chances at you and they get four goals. It was one big
mistake after another, and they killed us."