(Originally published at Sports Radio Service)
For the second time this season, the San Jose Sharks fell to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Last time, the Sharks lost 5-4, this time it was 2-1. This was the Blue Jackets’ second win in a row, after a nine-game losing streak, mostly attributable to an unprecedented rash of injuries. The last game they won before that losing streak? October 25, in San Jose. It was the first game back for Sergei Bobrovsky after being out with a broken finger. This second win completes the Blue Jackets’ sweep of the season series between the teams.
After the game, Sharks forward Joe Pavelski said, of his team’s inability to string wins together: “That’s what it’s about, is winning, it’s always frustrating. This little seesaw here, win one, lose one, it’s… it gets old.
Pavelski scored the lone goal for the Sharks. Columbus goals were scored by David Savard and Cam Atkinson. Bobrovsky made 36 saves on 37 shots for the win, Antii Niemi made 26 saves on 28 shots for the Sharks.
Sharks head coach Todd McLellan did not see a lack of effort at the root of the Sharks’ loss:
This one, the effort was an honest one, so we have to live with an honest effort not winning at times. But we had a number of opportunities to put the puck in the net, we didn’t. Had a lot of pucks that were blocked or just deflected at the last second, probably not releasing it quick enough.
Defensively, McLellan saw some positives as well:
Defensively I didn’t think we gave up a lot, we had to open the game up a bit in the third, they had some chances. As far as stringing games together, there’s some frustration there, but the fact that for the most part we had a very competitive night was a positive.
The Blue Jackets scored first, near the end of the first period. Defenseman David Savard took a shot from above the faceoff circle, catching Niemi away from the post with Scott Hannan skating across in front of him. Assists went to Adam Cracknell and Artem Anisimov.
Brent Burns was called for tripping in the final seconds of the first period, putting the Sharks on the penalty kill to start the second. The Sharks took a second penalty 9:10 into the second when Andrew Desjardins was called for goalie interference.
The period ended with the Sharks barely ahead in shots 11-10, and trailing Columbus by one goal.
The Blue Jackets did not get a lot of shots in the period, despite that power play. With just over five minutes left, they only had credit for two shots on goal. The Sharks had eight in the same time frame, and had a power play as well at 11:17.
At 15:14, Mirco Mueller was called for interference and the Blue Jackets went back on the power play. Niemi made some good saves before Columbus beat him again. One cross- ice pass through traffic was followed by another that squeaked by in front of the crease. Cam Atkinson caught that pass and put it in to give the Blue Jackets a two goal lead. Assists went to Jack Johnson and Boone Jenner.
In the final minute of the period, Joe Pavelski broke Bobrovsky’s shut out and got the Sharks back in the game. Carrying the puck into the slot, Pavelski tried a backhand but could not get a handle on the puck. No one took it away from him so he turned around and shot it forehand.
At the end of the second, the Sharks led in shots 21-18.
During the first shift of the third period, Matt Nieto went awkwardly into the boards after a hit from Boone Jenner. He went to the dressing room after a stop at the bench, but came right back out.
Neither team sat back after that, staying even in shots and chances. With five minutes left in regulation, Alexander Wennberg high sticked Scott Hannan and drew blood, giving the Sharks a four minute man advantage. The Columbus penalty killers rose to the occasion and kept the Sharks from ever sustaining an attack. Bobrovsky ate up any chance of rebounds so that the blue paint became something of a dead zone for any puck that got close.
The penalty expired and McLellan pulled Niemi for the extra attacker but the Blue Jackets did not give an inch. The Sharks used their time out with under 30 seconds left. The Sharks did win the faceoff in the Blue Jackets zone, but they could not keep the puck in for long.
Final score: 2-1 Blue Jackets. The final shot count was 37-28 Sharks.
The Blue Jackets won 32 faceoffs to the Sharks’ 22. The Blue Jackets’ power play went 1/3, the Sharks was 0/3. The Blue Jackets blocked 19 shots to the Sharks’ 9.
Jason Demers and Patrick Marleau led the Sharks in shots with four each. Marc-Edouard Vlasic led the team in ice time at 22:03. Andrew Desjardins led the team in hits with three.
Cam Atkinson led the Blue Jackets in shots with five. David Savard led the team in ice time with 22:42, Nick Foligno led in hits with five.
San Jose’s scratches were Matt Irwin, Tye McGinn and John Scott.
The Sharks next play at 2:00 PT Sunday, against the Hurricanes in Raleigh, North Carolina.