San Jose continued their eight-game road swing with game four against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but things did not go as planned in the 3-0 loss. Team Teal was without the services of Curtis Brown (who returned to the Bay Area for the birth of a child), Mark Smith (lower body) and Joe Pavelski (lower body). In addition, Captain Patrick missed the contest with an upper body injury, snapping his consecutive games played streak at 173.
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The Sharks reacquired Alexander Korolyuk from New Jersey for the playoff drive, but he was still returning from Russia. However, Mathieu Darche was stepping into his first game with the Sharks and it was against the team he broke in with. Evgeni Nabokov started in net for San Jose.
The first period was limited offensively for both clubs, as the closest either came to scoring was a hard goal post. Columbus was unsuccessful on their first power play effort and the Sharks had a power play that would carry into the second period.
San Jose could not convert on the man advantage, but Cheechoo set up one and Thornton set up Cheechoo for another as the offense looked to be finding its groove at that point.
Five minutes into the middle period, Rick Nash appeared set for breakaway opportunity when Christian Ehrhoff reached out with his stick and poked the puck away while diving to the ice.
On the other end of the ice, Columbus avoided a penalty when a Blue Jacket defender covered the puck with his glove in the crease, but no penalty was called. When play returned to the Sharks end, Columbus put up the game’s first goal. As Fredrik Modin came around behind the net and attempted to stuff it in, Nabokov made the initial stop. However, the puck bounced off a second stick and over Nabokov’s shoulder.
Some careless play by Nash gave San Jose a following power play when the Jackets forward started a fight with Ehrhoff and also was guilty of holding his stick before the scrap. Team Teal was up a man for four minutes. Columbus managed to prevent the tying tally and held to their 1-0 lead midway through the contest.
The tight fought contest included some fighting a bit later with Nieminen and Adam Foote grabbing a hold of each other during a scrum.
San Jose could not pull off the tying tally in the second, going six straight periods without a tally. However, they would carry 49 seconds of power play time into the third.
When the power play came up empty, the Sharks were unable to tie things before Columbus doubled their lead. Gilbert Brule used his speed to turn a two-on-two situation into an odd-man rush. With Nabokov having to watch out for the pass, Brule snapped his shot to the far post and Columbus was up 2-0.
A Blue Jacket power play in the third was the nail in the coffin for San Jose as the Sharks were shutout for a second straight game.
San Jose journeys to Dallas for a Sunday showdown with the Stars in a 12:30 p.m. affair that will be available on NBC, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.