Skip to main content

Sharks take five-game winning streak to Columbus

by John Kreiser /

SHARKS (10-4-1) at BLUE JACKETS (7-5-1)

Last 10 -- Sharks 7-2-1; Blue Jackets 5-4-1

Season series -- The teams are meeting for the second time this season. The Sharks routed the Blue Jackets 6-3 at San Jose on Oct. 8. The clubs split their four meetings lasts season, with Columbus winning both of its home games in overtime. The Blue Jackets have won only 10 of their 33 lifetime meetings with the Sharks.

Big story -- After a few early-season stumbles, the Sharks are on a roll. They've won five in a row and taken up their accustomed position at the top of the Pacific Division. The Blue Jackets, who've relied on defense and goaltending over the past two seasons, have been struggling to keep opponents off the scoresheet. But they've been doing better at putting the puck in the net themselves -- especially in a 5-4 overtime win at Washington on Sunday.

Team Scope:

Sharks -- There's nothing a coach likes more than to have offensive contributions from a variety of sources, and that's been the case for the Sharks during their hot streak. Eight players scored goals over the weekend as the Sharks beat Colorado 3-1 and Carolina 5-1 to stretch their winning streak to five games. In all, 13 players had points.

"I think that's a part of our team," said defenseman Kent Huskins, one of the goal-scorers. "All of our defensemen can kind of get up in the rush and make it an odd-man rush. If we can chip in goals, that's great."

Of course, the Sharks' big guns are firing as well. Patrick Marleau is 4-6-10 during the winning streak, while Dany Heatley has 3 goals.

Blue Jackets -- The Jackets have lost their last two home games but are coming into this one off an emotional victory at Washington -- a game in which Raffi Torres tied the game with a sixth-attacker goal and R.J. Umberger won it with a power-play goal in OT.

Torres, a former first-round pick by the Islanders who's battled injuries for most of his career, twice tied the game in the third period.

"He stepped up for sure," Columbus captain Rick Nash said of Torres. "That first one was huge. Good battle down low, good wraparound."

Who's hot -- Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov is 4-0-0 with a 1.47 goals-against average in his last four starts. He was named the NHL's Third Star for the week of Oct. 26-Nov. 1. ... Nash had a goal and an assist against Washington and has nine points in his last five games.

Injury report -- San Jose had hoped to have injured forwards Joe Pavelski, Torrey Mitchell and Ryan Vesce available, but all three reportedly may not be ready to go yet. Devin Setoguchi (leg) almost certainly wont play. … Columbus rookie Nikita Filatov is expected to sit out with a bad back. Defenseman Mike Commodore is likely to play despite a charley horse.

Stat pack -- Nabokov is 17-4-2 with a 1.80 GAA in his career against Columbus. San Jose has six wins and two overtime losses in its last eight meetings with the Blue Jackets.

Puck drop -- This game is a homecoming for San Jose's Manny Malhotra, who spent the past five seasons with Columbus before signing with the Sharks as a free agent a few weeks before the new season.

"We have a couple of days off, so I'll visit some old restaurants I liked and see some of the people I know," the veteran center told the Sharks' TV network. Columbus "is a great sports town and when we made the playoffs last season, it was amazing how loud the building got."

View More