If you ask most Jackets fans what the worst place for the team to visit on the road is, they'll probably say Nashville.
Though the Jackets are notoriously unable to find success in the music city, San Jose isn't far behind. The Jackets are 1-15-2 at the HP Pavilion, and the Sharks are currently enjoying a 3 game win streak on home ice.
The last time the Jackets won in San Jose was an overtime win in 2004. (I'm not counting the win in Sweden, because, well, Sweden.)
On the other hand, the Jackets have never won back to back games in California before, either. Why not go for the sweep?
In case you missed earlier reports, Mike Blunden was recalled from Springfield on an emergency basis, possibly to take the place of Derek Dorsett, but the team is now saying that Dorse is going to take the morning skate and will be "questionable."
The team also had previously said that Mathieu Garon would get one of the starts on this road trip, but after Steve Mason delivered such a stellar performance last night, Head Coach Scott Arniel appears to be hedging his bets. We pointed out yesterday that Mason has a much better career record against San Jose, and he appears to be the hot hand. I'm betting we'll see him take the net tonight.
|Game Time: 10:00pm EST
|TV: Fox Sports Ohio (HD)
|Radio: 97.1FM WFAN
|Blue Jackets vs Sharks coverage|
|Opponent's Blog: Fear The Fin
Keys To The Game:
- Energy Levels - San Jose had a chance to rest last night. The Jackets didn't. Expect a lot of short shifts and attempts to keep the tempo up. If the Sharks get a chance to dictate the pace of this game, it could be a disaster.
- Start Strong, Finish Stronger - Unlike most teams the Jackets have faced, San Jose has scored almost half of their 54 goals in the first period this season. In fact, they actually seem to be having problems with allowing late game surges (like giving up a 2 goal lead to the Stars on Thursday night), being outscored 17-14 in third periods and 4-0 in OT periods. The Jackets need to keep the Sharks off the board early, and carry that momentum through the rest of the game.
- Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself - The Sharks continue to deliver one of the best power plays in the NHL, backed by Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley, and Dan Boyle. The Sharks are the 7th best power play in the NHL, coverting 24% at home. The Jackets didn't take many penalties last night, but that 5-on-3 damn near wrecked them.
According to the Dispatch, it'll be Antero Niittymaki in goal tonight for the Sharks. Nitty is 1-2-1 against the Jackets with a 2.76 GAA and a .911 save percentage.
Blue Jackets Information:
|R.J. Umberger||Antoine Vermette||Nikita Filatov|
|Chris Clark||Samuel Pahlsson||Derek Dorsett / Mike Blunden|
|Kyle Wilson||Andrew Murray||Jared Boll|
|Rostislav Klesla||Marc Methot|
|Jan Hejda||Mike Commodore|
|Kris Russell||Fedor Tyutin|
|Patrick Marleau||Joe Thornton||Dany Heatley|
|Ryan Clowe||Logan Couture||Joe Pavelski|
|Jamie McGinn||Torrey Mitchell||Devin Setoguchi|
|John McCarthy||Scott Nichol||Jamal Mayers|
|Niclas Walin||Dan Boyle|
|Derek Joslin||Marc-Eduard Vlasic|
|Jason Demers||Kent Huskins|
Tidbit: This is going to be the 50,000th game in NHL history. That'll win you a beer in a trivia contest some day.