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Game Preview #13 - We're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

Pretty sure I've used this title before, but I like "Jaws" and the Sharks are really friggin' good. Sue me.

Thearon W. Henderson

San Jose Sharks at Columbus Blue Jackets

February 11, 2013 - 7:00pm EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponents Blog: Fear The Fin
SBNation Game Page

One goal on 40 shots.

Two ugly goals against.

A winnable game gone away.

That was last night. The Jackets are afforded the opportunity to turn right around and get that taste out of their mouths. They played well last night for the majority of the contest. They outworked their opponents; they limited shots against. They had plenty of scoring chances that went begging.

In short, there was actually a lot to like about last night's game.

Tonight is a different animal altogether, as the Sharks come calling. San Jose started out amazingly well, winning their fist seven contests. They are, however, currently mired in an 0-2-2 "slump" including a soul-crushing 1-0 shootout loss in which they got Mike Smith'd. Tonight is the first game of a six game road trip.

In other words, you can talk yourself into a scenario in which Columbus can play with these guys. If the Jackets bring the same intensity, effort, and execution that they played with last night, they can hang around. They're going to have to generate chances again, as San Jose's defense is the stingiest in the league. Both Sharks goalies have played well thus far, so it probably won't matter who's in net.

Defensively, Columbus beat themselves with a couple of "oh crap" turnovers that resulted in goals and an empty-netter. If THAT team shows up tonight--minus the boneheaded plays--Columbus can stay in this game. But, it will certainly be an uphill climb if they play sloppy defense and make it easier on the Sharks.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(3-7-2, 8 Points; 5th division, 15th conference)

R.J. Umberger Derick Brassard Derek Dorsett
Vinny Prospal Artem Anisimov Mark Letestu
Matt Calvert Brandon Dubinsky Nick Foligno
Colton Gillies Derek MacKenzie Jared Boll
Fedor Tyutin Nikita Nikitin
Jack Johnson James Wisniewski
Tim Erixon Cody Goloubef
Steve Mason
Sergei Bobrovsky

San Jose Sharks
(7-2-2, 16 Points; 2nd Division, 4th Conference)

Ryane Clowe Joe Thornton Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau Logan Couture Martin Havlat
Tommy Wingels Michal Handzus James Sheppard
T.J. Galiardi Scott Gomez Adam Burish
Marc-Edouard Vlasic Dan Boyle
Brad Stuart Brent Burns
Jason Demers Justin Braun
Thomas Greiss
Antti Niemi

Season Series

02/11/13 - San Jose at Columbus
04/09/13 - San Jose at Columbus
04/21/13 - Columbus at San Jose

Head to Head

San Jose Columbus
2.91 (7) GPG 1.92 (29)
1.82 (1) GAPG 3.17 (23)
22.8% (8) PP% 12.7% (26)
89.6% (3) PK% 84.8% (9)
Patrick Marleau, 9 G leader Artem Anisimov / Mark Letestu, 4
Joe Thornton, 11 A leader Fedor Tyutin, 8
Patrick Marleau / Joe Thornton, 14 Pts leader Fedor Tyutin, 9
Ryan Clowe, 56 PIM leader Jared Boll, 56
2-1-0 Road/Home 2-4-2
2/9 vs Phoenix, L 1-0 (SO) Last Game 2/10 vs Edmonton, L 3-1
6-2-2 Last 10 2-7-1
    Game Notes
  • Goal Differential - The Sharks are +12 in goal differential, good enough for second in the league. They have four guys (Thornton, Marleau, Couture, and Pavelski) playing at point-per-game or better. The big thing, however, has been on defense. The Sharks have--to this point--tightened up on the area that has always given them problems in the past.
  • In The Net - Steve Mason gets the start, which makes sense coming off the game last night. It looks like Thomas Greiss should get the start for San Jose, since he was first off the ice this morning. For his part, Mason had a 4.50 gaa and .893 save% in two games against the Sharks last season.

Columbus is about to go out on the road for awhile. Not good times.