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Sharks begin road trip against Blue Jackets

by Dan Rosen

SHARKS (20-11-7) at BLUE JACKETS (16-16-7)


Last 10: San Jose 8-1-1; Columbus 5-4-1

Season Series: This is the second of three meetings. The Blue Jackets won the first showdown, 6-2, on Feb. 11. That game was also in Columbus.

Big Story: While the Sharks are trying to solidify their playoff position, the Blue Jackets are still hoping to catch fire so they can crack the top eight by season's end. The problem is, Columbus is stuck in 12th place with 39 points and has lost two in a row.

Team Scope:

Sharks: San Jose's seven-game winning streak came to an end Sunday in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Dallas Stars.

It was the first time the Sharks gave up more than two goals since their 5-3 win against the Anaheim Ducks on March 25. It was the first time they gave up more than three goals since March 18, when the Ducks beat the Sharks, 5-3.

San Jose finished its seven-game homestand with a 6-0-1 record. The game Tuesday in Columbus starts a four-game road trip that will also take the Sharks to Detroit, Dallas and Phoenix before they return home a week from Tuesday.

Despite the recent run of success, coach Todd McLellan was not pleased with the way his team played Sunday. The Sharks had a 4-2 lead going into the third period and gave it away within the first 10 minutes.

"I didn't like our game basically the whole night," McLellan said. "It was great we were able to score four, but we had a lot of key, key people, high-minute, high-end players who really didn't perform very well. Some of the workers worked, but we need more from those guys heading out on the road right now.

"When you're up like we were, you shouldn't give them back," he continued. "A lot of mistakes. We didn't look very quick."

Blue Jackets: Columbus is just 1-2 since the trade for Marian Gaborik. The Blue Jackets were blanked 3-0 by the Minnesota Wild on Sunday after losing 3-1 to the St. Louis Blues on Friday.

Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson said the team may have to win out to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Columbus has nine games remaining.

"It'd be nice, that's the goal," he said following the loss to Minnesota. "That's what we're shooting for the rest of the season. We're in a position if we take care of our own games we can be in the position we want to be in. This one definitely hurts. It makes the next one even more critical."

The Wild scored twice on their three power-play chances Sunday, while the Blue Jackets were held to only three shots and no goals on their four chances.

"They could have scored 10 power-play goals and it really doesn't matter if you can't score one," Johnson said. "It's a pretty tough pill to swallow if you're in must-win games and you don't score a goal. That's pretty devastating."

Who's hot: Sharks defenseman turned forward Brent Burns has four points in the past three games. He scored one of San Jose's four goals Sunday night. T.J. Galiardi also has a three-game point-scoring streak going. Raffi Torres had two assists in his Sharks' debut and has four assists in his past two games if you go back to his final game with the Phoenix Coyotes.

Injury report: Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan (upper-body) is out. … For the Blue Jackets, neither Jared Boll nor Tim Erixon have played since March 29 because of upper body injuries. Erixon could play Tuesday. Both Brandon Dubinsky and Nikita Nikitin sat out the game Sunday. Dubinsky is doubtful and Nikitin is questionable for the game Tuesday. Ryan Johansen (lower body) also may have to sit out.

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