In the Crease: Sharks host Jackets in final game before break

In the Crease: Sharks host Jackets in final game before break
February 7, 2014, 9:30 am
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The Blue Jackets are the only NHL team the Sharks have yet to face this season. (USATSI)

Programming note: Sharks-Blue Jackets coverage gets underway at 7:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California

Where they stand
Sharks: 36-16-6, 78 points, 2nd Pacific Division, 4th Western Conference
Blue Jackets: 29-23-5, 63 points, 4th Metropolitan Division, 9th Eastern Conference

The latest

Sharks: Tommy Wingels’ overtime goal gave San Jose a 2-1 win at home over Dallas on Wednesday night. Marty Havlat added a goal and an assist, including setting up the game-winner, and Scott Hannan assisted on both Sharks goals. Alex Stalock made 19 saves, and has allowed just five goals total in his last five starts. This is the Sharks’ final game before the Olympic break, and their schedule resumes on Feb. 27 in Philadelphia.

Blue Jackets: The Blue Jackets are 11-3-1 in their last 14 games, but dropped an overtime decision to the Kings at Staples Center on Thursday night, 2-1. Jack Johnson scored the lone goal on the power play, but the Kings’ Robyn Regehr gave Los Angeles the extra point after the Kings had tied it early in the third. Columbus resumes its season on Feb. 27 in New Jersey.

Keep an eye on…

Sharks: Adam Burish. The winger made his season debut on Wednesday, and skated on an efficient fourth line for the Sharks that played approximately 10 minutes. Burish had one shot, three hits and one blocked shot, but more importantly, his line with Andrew Desjardins and Mike Brown was effectively bothersome to Dallas.

Blue Jackets: James Wisneiwski. The top-four defenseman and power play quarterback is tied for third in the league in power play points among blueliners with 19, and he has five goals and 30 assists total in 50 games. He has four points (1g, 3a) in his last five games, including a two-game assist streak.

Vitals

Sharks
Goals per game: 2.81 (10th)
Goals-against per game: 2.33 (4th)
Power play: 17.6 percent (18th)
Penalty kill: 83.2 percent (11th)

Blue Jackets
Goals per game: 2.88 (7th)
Goals-against per game: 2.75 (17th)
Power play: 19.0 percent (15th)
Penalty kill: 81.8 percent (16th)

Probable lines

Sharks
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Brent Burns
Tommy Wingels – Joe Pavelski – Marty Havlat
James Sheppard – John McCarthy – Bracken Kearns
Mike Brown – Andrew Desjardins – Adam Burish

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Jason Demers
Brad Stuart – Justin Braun
Scott Hannan – Dan Boyle

Antti Niemi (confirmed starter)
Alex Stalock

Blue Jackets
Nick Foligno – Arten Anisimov – RJ Umberger
Boone Jenner – Ryan Johansen – Nathan Horton
Matt Calvert – Brandon Dubinsky – Cam Atkinson
Derek MacKenzie – Mark Letestu – Corey Tropp

Ryan Murray – James Wisniewski
Jack Johnson – Fedor Tyutin
Nikita Nikitin – David Savard

Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

Injuries/Scratches

Sharks: Tomas Hertl (right knee surgery), Raffi Torres (right knee surgery), Logan Couture (right hand), Tyler Kennedy (lower body), and Matt Nieto (left foot) are out. Jason Demers (groin) is probable.

Blue Jackets: Jared Boll (left ankle) and Marian Gaborik (broken collarbone) are out. Blake Comeau (lower body) is questionable.

Season/All-Time series

The Blue Jackets are the only NHL team the Sharks have yet to face this season. They meet again at Nationwide Arena on March 13.

San Jose is 30-13-0 with four ties all-time against Columbus.

Quoteable

“I’m a big part of the group that the scoring’s kind of vanished from. I got one tonight, but the numbers in the past games still aren’t where they need to be. It’s something we’re working on, the group of guys that need to pick it up. We will. We’re confident players, and we’ll get there.” – Tommy Wingels, after Wednesday’s 2-1 overtime win over Dallas

Burning question

Who is your choice to win the gold, silver and bronze medals in the Olympic hockey tournament?