Apr 9, 2013; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets center Artem Anisimov (42) shoots as San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi (31) makes a save during the first period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

San Jose Sharks: Niemi, Offense Struggle In Blowout Loss to Blue Jackets

Sergei Bobrovsky had his way with the San Jose Sharks tonight.

Bobrovsky stopped 30 shots and recorded his fourth shutout in his last 15 games, powering the Blue Jackets to a much-needed victory. Newly acquired Marion Gaborik added a goal and recorded an assist, and he was Columbus’ leading offensive performer. Despite firing 30 shots (which isn’t a ton), the Blue Jackets managed four goals and an easy victory.

San Jose isn’t guaranteed a playoff spo, so this loss hurts them. The Blue Jackets are just six points behind the Sharks and two behind the Red Wings, as they have 41 points and San Jose has 43. The Sharks have just nine games remaining, while the Blue Jackets have only eight left. If the Blue Jackets win on Friday (against the St. Louis Blues) and the Sharks win on Thursday (at the Red Wings), the Red Wings and Blue Jackets will be tied for eighth place with 43 points apiece.

After riding a seven-game winning streak back into the playoff standings, the Sharks have suffered two consecutive defeats. Antti Niemi stopped 22 of 26 shots, as he wasn’t at his best. Thomas Greiss stopped four shots and gave up no goals, but the Sharks were out of the game by the time he came in. They had no impact performers, and they were trying to rotate lots of players in. Only two players accumulate 20 minutes of ice time.

The Sharks are in dire need of a win, and if they can’t win down the stretch, they could miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2002-03 season. San Jose’s performance tonight didn’t help, and Columbus was able to narrow the gap between them and the Red Wings. Thanks to Bobrovsky, the Blue Jackets are in a nice position, and thanks to a poor offensive showing, the Sharks remain the fifth-place team in the West with 47 points.

Tags: Antti Niemi Columbus Blue Jackets San Jose Sharks Sergei Bobrovsky

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