The San Jose Sharks (7-2-2) start their six-game road trip this evening in Columbus against the Blue Jackets (3-7-2) at Nationwide Arena.
The Sharks will be trying to get out of a rut where they have lost four straight games while the Blue Jackets, who have struggled all season, are coming off to a 3-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers.
Columbus is on their own three-game losing streak, and tonight one of these two streaks will end.
The Blue Jackets come into the game having had problems all season putting the puck in the net. Obviously the loss of Rick Nash has been a major factor, but even so have not been able to get it together this season. In fact, they are 29th out of 30 teams in that catergory and only score 1.92 goals per game.
They face a tough task against the Sharks who allow the least amount of goals per game so far this season at just under two allowed.
Leading Columbus in points this season is defenseman (yup, not a forward) Fedor Tyutin who has one goal and eight assists. The eight assists also leads the team in that category. Tied for second in points are Derick Brassard with two goals and four assists and Mark Letestu who has four goals and two assists.
They have also had plenty of struggles in net this season with Sergei Bobrovsky and Steve Mason pretty much splitting time 50-50 with neither doing a fairly good job. Bobrovsky, in seven games, has a 2.98 goals against with an .896 save percentage and two wins. Mason has played six games and has posted one win with 3.00 goals against average and a .900 save percentage.
The Sharks have been struggling to stay afloat since their win-steak to open the season and are now sinking fast. They played possibly their best game of the losing streak against the Coyotes a couple days ago, but unfortunately ran into a brick wall named Mike Smith who handed San Jose their first shutout of the season.
They good news last game was that the now beardless Brent Burns (no that’s not the good news, although it is great that he does not look like a caveman anymore), who had not played all season due to injury, was back in action and looked pretty good. His puck-moving ability will be a welcomed sight for a team that has struggled with getting pucks out of their own end this season, especially on the breakout.
The Sharks will get a good chance to end their losing streak tonight against a Columbus team that has struggling on both sides of the puck right now. I fully expect them to win tonight and end the streak, although now maybe not since I seem to be trying my hardest to jinx them. My Prediction? Sharks win 4-1.