Sharks lay an egg in Columbus
The San Jose Sharks’ road record fell to a lowly 6-11-2 after their 4-0 defeat in Columbus. (AP IMAGES)
COLUMBUS – For the second time this season, the Sharks were humiliated at Nationwide Arena.
On Tuesday night, Columbus scored the only four goals of the game and Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves in a 4-0 Blue Jackets win over San Jose. Marian Gaborik had a goal and an assist to lead the offense.
After a successful homestand in which San Jose collected 13 of a possible 14 points, the Sharks’ road record fell to a lowly 6-11-2. Two of the uglier defeats have come here in Columbus, including an embarrassing 6-2 loss on Feb. 11.
Columbus (17-16-7, 41 points) looked like the hungrier and sharper team for the nearly the whole game, as the franchise fights for its second-ever playoff appearance.
Already leading 1-0, the Blue Jackets were the far better team for most of the second period and took a commanding 3-0 lead at the intermission.
James Wisniewski got a shot through from just inside the blue line, and Antti Niemi looked to be screened on a goal from the Columbus defenseman at 3:09.
Less than two minutes later, Ryan Johansen made it 3-0 when he was left open in the slot. Rather than get in position to tie up Johansen, Joe Thornton instead decided to pressure Gaborik, who set up Johanson who went high glove side over Niemi. Patrick Marleau could have also helped prevent the goal, but took his time getting back into the defensive zone.
Bobrovsky, whose impressive play this season gives the Blue Jackets a much better presence in net than the since-traded Steve Mason, did his best work on a Sharks power play late in the second. He made four saves with Matt Calvert off for interference, including a one-timer by Marleau from the top of the circle in which he quickly moved from right to left with less than three minutes left in the middle frame.
At 13:38 of the second, Bobrovsky was run over by TJ Galiardi, who was given a well-deserved goalie interference penalty. The 24-year-old was slow to get to his skates, but stayed in the game after a brief delay.
Gaborik, playing in his fourth game with Columbus since a blockbuster trade with the Rangers, put it away with a goal on a two-on-one rush. Raffi Torres turned the puck over in the neutral zone and Matt Irwin allowed Artem Anisimov to get behind him, leading to the Blue Jackets’ fourth goal.
Columbus took the lead on Calvert’s eighth goal. Niemi sealed off the post on a wraparound try by Cam Atkinson, but Calvert found the loose puck at 8:39 of the first period.
The Sharks appeared to finally get on the board with 5:16 left when Adam Burish slid in a loose puck while he was laying in front of the crease, but it was waived off due to incidental contact with the goaltender.
The Blue Jackets are 10-5-1 in their last 16 home games against the Sharks. This season, San Jose is just 3-6-4 against Central Division opponents.
The Sharks (20-12-7, 47 points) and Blue Jackets conclude their season series on April 21 at HP Pavilion.
The Sharks failed in their only power play attempt of the game. In the last 17 road games, San Jose is just 5-for-66 with a man advantage (7.6 percent).
Columbus was 0-for-2 on the power play.
Niemi was pulled for Thomas Greiss after Gaborik’s goal, finishing with 22 saves on 26 shots in what was his 17th straight start. He fell to 19-9-6 on the season.
Greiss played for the first time since March 6 in Calgary, when he suffered a neck injury, leading to a three-week stint on injured reserve. He stopped all four shots he saw.
Bobrovsky recorded his 14th win (14-10-6), and first of his career over the Sharks.
Scott Gomez was a healthy scratch for the first time since he sat out back-to-back games on Feb. 15 and 19. James Sheppard, who came out to make room for Torres’ debut on Sunday, returned.
The Sharks continue their four-game road trip in Detroit on Thursday, in their only visit of the season to Joe Louis Arena. San Jose visits the Stars on Saturday and Coyotes on Monday before hosting the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, April 16.