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Jackets host Sharks in battle of surging clubs
(SportsNetwork.com) - The playoff-hopeful Columbus Blue Jackets seek a sixth straight victory at home on Thursday night when they play host to the San Jose Sharks.
Columbus won for the fifth time in its past six games on Tuesday night, besting the Detroit Red Wings 4-1. The Blue Jackets had the game versus Dallas the previous night postponed in the first period following a cardiac event suffered by the Stars' Rich Peverley on the bench.
Sergei Bobrovsky made 39 saves versus the Red Wings, keeping the Blue Jackets in the game before the offense erupted for three goals in the third period. Boone Jenner and Brandon Dubinsky scored 40 seconds apart and Derek MacKenzie added an insurance marker later in the frame.
While Dubinsky netted his first goal in 11 games, Bobrovsky remained hot by improving to 5-1-0 with a 1.99 goals against average and .934 save percentage in his last six starts.
"(Bobrovsky) really held down the fort, kept us in the game and gave us an opportunity," Columbus head coach Todd Richards remarked. "We finished the game the right way."
The Blue Jackets, who have not lost at home since Jan. 28, are tied with the Philadelphia Flyers for third place in the Metropolitan Division, just one point behind the second-place New York Rangers.
Columbus will be without forward Blake Comeau for tonight's game and Saturday's road contest versus the Minnesota Wild after he was suspended for two games following a boarding incident on Detroit's Brendan Smith.
As the Blue Jackets look to extend a home winning streak, the Sharks open up a three-game road trip out east just two points behind the idle Anaheim Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division.
San Jose is 7-1-1 in its past nine games, including a recent 3-0-1 homestand that concluded with Tuesday's 6-2 rout of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Joe Pavelski potted two goals and added an assist to surpass 400 career points. He became just the fourth Sharks player to reach that mark with San Jose.
Joe Thornton had three assists and Tommy Wingels notched a goal, assist and a fight, giving him five points over his last three games. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Brent Burns and Martin Havlat also scored and Antti Niemi made 19 saves.
San Jose outshot Toronto 48-21 in the game.
"We were all over them, all game," said Vlasic. "They played last night, tough game, so we wanted to jump all over them and I thought we played 60 minutes."
San Jose won its third straight overall and will try to make it two wins in a row over Columbus tonight.
The Blue Jackets had won four in a row in this series before a 3-2 setback in San Jose on Feb. 7. They have still claimed three in a row at home over the Sharks.
Bobrovsky is 2-1-1 with a 2.47 GAA and one shutout in four previous games versus the Sharks.
San Jose also is set to visit the New York Islanders on Friday, so both Niemi and backup Alex Stalock could see action over the next two nights. Niemi is 5-3-0 with a 3.07 GAA and one shutout versus the Blue Jackets, while Stalock has never faced them.
Thornton has 14 goals and 41 points in 35 career games versus Columbus.
03/13 10:58:06 ET