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Game #77 Preview: Blue Jackets wrap up California trip against Sharks

Last chance to stay up late and watch Jackets hockey

San Jose Sharks v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images

Tuesday, April 19, 2022 - 10:30 ET
SAP Center- San Jose, California
TV: Bally Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Fear the Fin

San Jose Sharks (29-34-12, 70 points, 7th Pacific, 13th East)
at
Columbus Blue Jackets (35-35-6, 76 points, 6th Metro, 10th East)

A late Tuesday night game in San Jose wraps up the Blue Jackets California trip. They will need to scratch out a win to salvage the trip and avoid being swept in California. With both teams on somewhat of a skid and out of the playoffs, the teams should be be playing loose and provide for an entertaining matchup. Hopefully the Blue Jackets can reward their faithful fans who decide to forgo sleep and tune in.

Player to Watch

Nick Blankenburg

With the defense missing its #1 workhorse, there will be lots of minutes up for grabs. This defensive unit has already broken the franchise record for most goals allowed in a season, and is in dire need of a bright spot. Blankenburg has thus far impressed and hopefully can continue to do so in a larger role with Werenski out of the lineup. I would expect him to see top four minutes considering the team tends to bleed goals without Werenski in the lineup.

Jackets Notes

It remains to be seen just how shorthanded the Blue Jackets will be when they take the ice tonight. They were already without star forward, Patrik Laine, last game, only to lose their star defenseman, Zach Werenski early in the game. Rookie Kent Johnson is still in search of his first NHL point entering his fourth game, and I’m guessing tonight is the night he gets that milestone out of the way.

After getting a rare night off, it should be Elvis Merzlikins back in net for the Blue Jackets. Elvis had gotten so used to starting, he asked if he had done something wrong when he was informed he would not be starting against the Ducks.

The Other Bench

Like the Jackets, the Sharks are playing out the string, sitting near the bottom of the Western Conference. They are currently winless in their last ten games, and with opportunities to send their fans home happy dwindling, they will most likely be desperate for a win.

The Sharks could be in for many changes come this offseason. In fact, they have already begun with the the departure of long tenured General Manager Doug Wilson, who stepped down earlier this month. San Jose has an aging roster, and this season was nothing short of a colossal disappointment for them. There’s a lot of work to be done, and whoever the new GM ends up being has their work cut out for them.

Season Series

12/5/21 SJS 4 @ CBJ 6
4/19/22 CBJ @ SJS

Stats

San Jose Columbus
2.57 (28) GPG 3.17 (13)
3.17 (21) GAPG 3.68 (29)
18.2 (23) PP% 17.1% (24)
86.1% (3) PK% 79.0% (19)
45.3% (31) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 47.5% (23)
46.6% (25) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 46.5% (26)
7.6 (28) 5v5 Shooting % 9.33 (4)
.913 (21) 5v5 Save % .907 (28)
Timo Meier, 33 G Leader Patrik Laine, 26
Brent Burns, 41 A Leader Jakub Voracek, 50
Timo Meier, 73 P Leader Patrik Laine, 56
Jeffrey Viel, 112 PIM Leader Sean Kuraly, 61
16-16-5 Home / Road 16-20-2
3-6-1 Last 10 3-6-1

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets

Gus Nyquist Cole Sillinger Jake Voracek
Kent Johnson Jack Roslovic Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Eric Robinson Sean Kuraly Justin Danforth
Emil Bemstrom Brendan Gaunce Carson Meyer
Vladislav Gavrikov Andrew Peeke
Nick Blankenburg Adam Boqvist
Gavin Bayreuther/Gabriel Carlsson Jake Bean
Elvis Merzlikins
J.F. Berube

San Jose Sharks

Timo Meier Tomas Hertl Jonathan Dahlen
Nick Bonino Logan Couture Matthew Nieto
Rudolfs Balcers Thomas Bordeleau Noah Gregor
Sasha Chmelevski Jasper Weatherby Scott Reedy
Mario Ferraro Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic Ryan Merkley
Santeri Hatakka Nicolas Meloche
James Reimer
Kaapo Kahkonen

Let’s go Jackets!