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Sharks open long trip against Blue Jackets

by Brian Compton

SHARKS (7-2-2) at BLUE JACKETS (3-7-2)


Last 10: San Jose 6-2-2; Columbus 2-7-1.

Season series: This is the first of three meetings. The Sharks won three of four against the Blue Jackets in 2011-12.

Big story: Both teams will be looking to get back on track in this one – San Jose enters with a four-game winless skid (0-2-2), while Columbus has won only three of its first 12 games this season.

Team scope:

Sharks: What happened to San Jose’s offense?

The Sharks are coming off a 1-0 shootout loss on home ice against Phoenix on Saturday afternoon, as Antti Niemi was outdueled by Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith. Four of the Sharks’ last six contests have gone to shootouts, and their inability to win those games has them now looking up to the Anaheim Ducks in the Pacific Division.

Monday marks the beginning of a six-game road trip.

"We still need to bear down around the net, but there are things we can build upon heading out on the road," Sharks captain Joe Thornton said after Saturday’s defeat. "We feel comfortable playing this type of game, but unfortunately we lost in a shootout."

Thornton and winger Patrick Marleau have each gone five games without a point. They’re still tied for the team lead in scoring with 14 points apiece.

Blue Jackets: Columbus suffered its third straight loss Sunday night, although it certainly wasn’t due to a lack of effort. The Blue Jackets peppered Devan Dubnyk with 40 shots, only to be on the losing end of a 3-1 decision against the Edmonton Oilers at Nationwide Arena.

The Jackets outshot the Oilers 40-14, including 15-3 in the third period.

“We probably should have had 10 goals tonight,” Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson said. “You only score one goal, you’re not going to win many hockey games. That’s the most frustrating part, is the offense giving ourselves a chance to win. You’re probably going to have to score three, four goals every night to win. Otherwise, our poor goalies have to pitch a shutout every night. That’s just unrealistic to ask.”

Who’s hot: San Jose has killed off 34 straight power plays. … Columbus defenseman Fedor Tyutin has four assists in his last four games.

Injury report: Columbus will be missing defenseman Adrian Aucoin (lower body) and forward Cam Atkinson (lower body). Defenseman John Moore (lower body) did not play Sunday.

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