Sharks can't clinch after allowing last minute goal
The Sharks failed to clinch a playoff spot against the Blue Jackets, needing only one point to do so. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
SAN JOSE – The Sharks erased a two-goal third period deficit, but Ryan Johansen’s late marker gave the Blue Jackets a 4-3 win at HP Pavilion on Sunday night.
The Sharks trailed 3-1 to start the third, and their comeback began with an unlikely source. Matt Irwin shot the puck up the ice off of the glass, and Andrew Desjardins gathered it in. He waited for Columbus defenseman Dalton Prout to go sliding by, cut to the net, and scored his second of the season at 6:34 in impressive fashion to make it a 3-2 game. The goal came with Joe Thornton on the ice after he had been demoted to the fourth line to start the third period.
A Joe Pavelski power play goal fed from Scott Gomez tied the game, when Pavelski found daylight inside the near post past Sergei Bobrovsky with five minutes and three seconds left in regulation.
Pavelski’s turnover in the defenseive zone led to the game-winner, though. Johansen fired in a wrist shot with just 1:37 left on the clock to give Columbus the win. The Blue Jackets have won six of their last seven and remain in eighth place in the Western Conference.
The Sharks failed to clinch a playoff spot, needing only one point to do so. They lost for just the second time in regulation at home (16-2-5), and remain in fifth place in the West.
Columbus had taken a 3-1 lead on the power play in the second period. Mark Letestu’s shot appeared to deflect off of Desjardins’ stick and through the five-hole of Antti Niemi to give the Blue Jackets a two-goal cushion.
The goal appeared to immediately deflate the Sharks, as Columbus had a long shift in the offensive zone that featured a whole lot of standing around by San Jose's players. Still, the Sharks nearly cut into the lead before the intermission, but Raffi Torres’ shot hit the post with about three minutes to go and Marty Havlat just missed on a rebound in the closing seconds.
The Sharks were trailing 2-0 when a goal from Havlat gave them life. Havlat got free in the slot and deposited his third goal in two games on a feed from Couture, who was behind the net at 7:14 of the second period.
The Blue Jackets took the lead with the only goal of the first period. Letestu charged towards the net with Marc-Edouard Vlasic defending, and knocked in a pass from the wing by Jack Johnson at 16:53.
Vinny Prospal’s breakaway goal at 4:27 after a neutral zone turnover by Brad Stuart made it 2-0, Columbus.
The loss snapped the Sharks' three-game winning streak. They are 11-3-1 in their last 15.
Columbus swept the three-game season series, outscoring the Sharks 14-5. The two earlier wins came at Nationwide Arena.
The Blue Jackets had been 0-for-18 on the power play before Letestu converted on his point shot in the second period.
Each team was 1-for-2 on the power play.
Niemi took the loss with 18 saves, and remains tied with New York's Evgeni Nabokov for the league lead in wins (23).
Bobrovsky made 32 saves, improving to 19-11-6.
Jason Demers sat out with an undisclosed injury, so Scott Hannan played for the second time in three games, paired with Stuart.
The Sharks play their regular season home finale on Tuesday against Dallas. They conclude with games in Phoenix on Wednesday and Los Angeles on Saturday.