SHARKS (39-11-9) at BLUE JACKETS (24-27-9)
: San Jose 8-1-1; Columbus 6-4-0.
: This is the third of four meetings. On Oct. 8, Dany Heatley scored three goals in his home ice debut to lead the Sharks to a 6-3 victory. Dan Boyle
added a goal and two assists, and Joe Thornton
tied a franchise record with four assists for San Jose. On Nov. 4, Boyle roofed a wrist shot for the lone goal in a shootout, and Evgeni Nabokov stopped all three shooters to give the Sharks a 3-2 victory in Columbus. Thornton scored and Heatley added a power-play goal.
: The coaching change from Ken Hitchcock to Claude Noel has paid off immediately for the Blue Jackets, who are 2-0-0 under the new coach. They hadn't won consecutive games since Oct. 10.
"We played two great games here," defenseman Anton Stralman said. "We hope to keep continuing. What Claude has brought, he's spoken with us to try and relax and play the game we all know we can play."
Columbus has won three of its last four games to improve to 9-7-0 in its last 16 since a 3-14-7 stretch from Nov. 21-Jan. 5. Also, the Blue Jackets have won four of their last five at Nationwide Arena.
: This is the fourth game in a six-game road trip that began with wins at St. Louis (4-2), Nashville (4-3) and Toronto (3-2).
On Monday, Ryane Clowe
scored with less than seven minutes left in the third period to break a 2-2 tie against the Maple Leafs. Dan Boyle
and Joe Pavelski
added goals and Evgeni Nabokov made 32 saves for San Jose, which has won eight straight road games.
The contest against the Leafs was the Sharks debut for veteran defenseman Niclas Wallin, who waived his no trade clause to come to San Jose from Carolina. He was scoreless with one shot and a plus-1 rating in 17:10 of ice time.
"I want to win championships and (the Sharks) are one of the best teams this year," he said. "I opened my contract to come here."
: This is the third game in a five-game home stand. Columbus began with a 2-1 win against Dallas and a 4-0 victory against Buffalo.
"We're having some fun out there," forward R.J. Umberger
said. "Guys are playing with a lot of jump and confidence."
In Saturday’s win against the Sabres, goaltender Steve Mason
stopped 28 shots for his third shutout of the season, and Rick Nash
and Raffi Torres scored against the NHL's top penalty-killing team. Anton Stralman added a goal and an assist, and Milan Jurcina scored to snap an 87-game goal-less streak.
Mason won back-to-back games for the first time since Oct. 17. His 13th career shutout gave him the Blue Jackets' franchise mark.
: For the Sharks, Dany Heatley has 3 goals and 8 assists in 7 games, Joe Thornton
has 2 goals and 5 assists in five games, Patrick Marleau
has a goal and 2 assists in two games, Devin Setoguchi has a goal and 3 assist in three games, and Kent Huskins has 2 assists in two games. For the Blue Jackets, Jakub Voracek has 3 assists in two games, R.J. Umberger
has a goal and 2 assists in two games, Rick Nash
has 6 goals and 6 assists in 11 games, Antoine Vermette
has 6 goals and 6 assists in 15 games, and Anton Stralman has 2 goals and an assist in two games.
: For the Sharks, Manny Malhotra (undisclosed) and Marc-Edouard Vlasic
(lower-body) are day-to-day. For the Blue Jackets, Mike Commodore (leg) and Rostislav Klesla (groin) are on injured reserve, and Derek Dorsett
(hand), Fredrik Modin (foot) and Fedor Tyutin
(leg) are day-to-day.
: Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash
is riding a four-game scoring streak (1-3-4) and has points in six of the last seven games (3-4-7), nine of the last 11 (6-6-12) and has collected 6-10-16 in his last 18 games after scoring his 25th goal of the season vs. Buffalo on Feb. 6. He has registered a point in 38-of-60 games this season and his longest streak without a point has been two games. …Nash played in his 500th NHL game on Feb. 4 vs. Dallas, becoming the second player in club history to play in 500 games as a Blue Jacket (David Vyborny, 543). …Defenseman Milan Jurcina scored his first goal as a Blue Jacket vs. Buffalo on Feb. 6, snapping an 87-game goalless drought (Dec. 16, 2008 with Washington). …On Feb. 6, Rob Blake scored for the Sharks in a 4-3 win at Nashville. He moved into sole possession of 10th place of the NHL’s all-time goals list for defenseman.
: "I don't think it was the best game we've played. We can play a lot better than this.” –- Blue Jackets interim coach Claude Noel after a 4-0 shutout against Buffalo