The San Jose Sharks (37-16-6, 80 points) defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets (29-24-5, 63 points) by the final score of 3-2 in their final game before the Olympic break. They have now won three of their last four games.
It was another tight game with special teams being rough in the win. Combined the Sharks and the Blue Jacket went 0-9 on the power play. The San Jose Sharks were especially struggling as it seemed they spent more time trying to enter and recover the puck in the zone rather than generating chances. The San Jose power play is now on a 1-29 streak and no doubt will be a focal point for the coaches in the next couple of weeks.
In net this evening for San Jose was Antti Niemi. He played great this evening and both goals were tough as they were a result of bad defensive turnovers. He finished the game with 19 saves on 21 shots. Conversely, San Jose threw 47 shots at Sergei Bobrovsky in the winning effort.
Lastly, this was Jason Demers‘ first game back since after missing a few games due to a groin injury. He struggled at times, but was able to make some plays offensively for the Sharks.
In the first period the Sharks got off to a great start with two goals in the first ten minutes of the game. The first goal came on a John McCarthy deflection 3:23 into the game as he got his stick on a James Sheppard shot from Bobrovsky’s left. That was his first goal this season.
Also in the first the Blue Jackets would put one past Niemi, but the goal would get called back after it was deemed to have been deflected with a high-stick. With the Sharks catching that break it was 2-0 going into the first intermission.
In the second period the Blue Jackets would get on the board after a terrible turnover by Joe Thornton. He threw the puck into the middle of the ice trying to break out of the zone. Rather than the puck finding a teammate it found Ryan Johansen‘s stick who took the opportunity and fired a wrist shot by Niemi to make it 2-1.
Later on the Sharks earned a four minute power play but once again looked a bit stagnant even with the man-advantage. It was also cut short after the Sharks committed a penalty of their own, ending that great opportunity to extend the lead.
The third period was San Jose’s strongest period of the night as they outshot Columbus 19-4 one of which eded up being their third goal of the night. That goal was scored by Tommy Wingels who was rewarded with going to the net as he tapped in a puck sitting in the crease. Bobrovsky was out of position after he stopped an initial shot from Jason Demers.
The Blue Jackets would come back and make the score 3-2 though as Boone Jenner, the guy who had his goal taken back in the first, would score on another bad turnover by Sharks. Jason Demers tried to reverse play by throwing the puck behind his net, but instead threw it to Ryan Johansen. He then threw the puck in front of the net and it eventually found Jenner who put the puck past Niemi to make it a one-goal game once again.
After that he Sharks and Niemi would stand tall as even with the Blue Jackets pulling Bobrovsky they could not score. They did get close with under a minute left and Niemi out of position, but a great defensive effort by Sheppard in front prevented a shot on net. With that, it was a 3-2 victory for the Sharks. Credit the two bottom lines tonight for playing phenomenally and being the main reason for the San Jose Sharks victory.
GGS 3 Stars
1. Tommy Wingels (2nd straight game winning goal, 4 shots, 4 hits)
2. Sergei Bobrovsky (44 saves)
3. John McCarthy (1 goal, 5 shots)