NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, April 9th (All times Eastern)
San Jose Sharks (20-11-7) at Columbus Blue Jackets (16-16-7), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The San Jose Sharks built a considerable amount of momentum during a recent seven-game homestand and they hope to carry some of that magic on the road for Tuesday's test against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Sharks recently tied a season-high with seven straight wins before the streak ended Sunday night against visiting Dallas. The shootout loss to the Stars dropped the Sharks' record on the homestand to 6-0-1 and San Jose will try to rebound from the close setback when it kicks off a four-game road trip at Nationwide Arena.
San Jose, however, has not fared well as the guest this season, going 6-10-2 on the road compared to a stellar 14-1-5 mark at the Shark Tank. Making matters worse, the Sharks have lost in two straight and five of their last eight trips to Columbus.
The Sharks and Blue Jackets have split the last eight meetings in this series overall.
San Jose lost a 5-4 decision to the Stars on Sunday despite holding a pair of two-goal leads in the game. Jamie Benn scored the lone shootout goal to help Dallas pull off the comeback win.
Brent Burns, T.J. Galiardi, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Tommy Wingels scored the goals for San Jose, while Justin Braun and Raffi Torres each added a pair of assists.
"It's very disappointing," Wingels said. "We're happy with the homestand as a whole but you're only as good as your latest performance. There are things we need to clean up and move on."
San Jose will visit Detroit, Dallas and Phoenix before completing its swing.
The Sharks are currently sitting fifth in the Western Conference playoff race, one point behind Los Angeles and one in front of Minnesota. The Kings play Tuesday in Dallas and the Wild are at home against Chicago.
The Blue Jackets are playing the middle portion of a three-game homestand and the playoff-hopeful club is in desperate need of a win. Columbus had won three straight before losing 3-1 in St. Louis on Friday and then dropping Sunday's 3-0 test against Minnesota.
As a result, Columbus finds itself in a three-way tie for 10th place in the West and four points out of a playoff spot.
The Blue Jackets were blanked Sunday by Niklas Backstrom, who stopped all 24 shots to notch his second shutout of the season. Ryan Suter and Charlie Coyle each recorded a power-play goal to help the Wild drop Columbus to 11-5-5 at home this season.
Sergei Bobrovsky allowed all three goals on 24 shots for Columbus, which has qualified for the playoffs just once in franchise history. The Blue Jackets made the postseason in the spring of 2009 only to be swept out in the first round by Detroit.
"We lacked energy in the second period," Columbus coach Todd Richards admitted after Sunday's loss. "We picked it up in the third, but we still didn't do enough."
Marian Gaborik failed to record a point in a game for the first time as a Blue Jacket on Sunday. The Slovakian has a goal and two assists for Columbus since coming over in a trade with the New York Rangers at Wednesday's deadline.
Columbus played Sunday without forward Brandon Dubinsky and defensemen Tim Erixon and Nikita Nikitin, who are all questionable for tonight's tilt.
04/09 10:51:58 ET