Game 39 Preview: Go West Young Man

Columbus Blue Jackets at San Jose Sharks

January 5, 2012 - 10:30pm EST
HP Pavilion - San Jose, California
Radio - WBNS FM 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponents Blog: Fear The Fin

It's been a long four days off for the Jackets. The Scott Arniel Death Watch is in full effect, what with his less-than-cordial treatment of the press corp--and in particular the awesomeness that is 97.1's Lori Schmidt--on New Year's Eve. Perhaps best for Arniel is that the team has had these four days off, and gets to get geographically about as far away from Columbus while still being on the NHL map as possible.

They come into San Jose to face a hot Sharks team; they have 15 points in their last 10 games (6-1-3), and have won their last two. In a weird twist of fate, the Jackets are the more rested team despite the travel, as the Sharks played last night against the Ducks. Not that that seems to matter much for this team.

Columbus catches a small break with the Sharks a little nicked up: Martin Havlat is out, and this is clearly not the offensive juggernaut Sharks team from years-past. That said, they're still getting it done, and are especially stout defensively this year.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(10-23-5, 25 Points; 5th division, 15th conference)

Rick Nash Jeff Carter Ryan Johansen
Vinny Prospal Antoine Vermette Mark Letestu
R.J. Umberger Samuel Pahlsson Derek Dorsett
Derick Brassard Derek MacKenzie Jared Boll
Fedor Tyutin Nikita Nikitin
Marc Methot David Savard
John Moore Grant Clitsome
Curtis Sanford
Steve Mason

San Jose Sharks
(21-11-4, 46 Points; 1st Division, 3rd Conference)

Benn Ferriero Joe Thornton Joe Pavelski
Ryane Clowe Logan Couture Patrick Marleau
Jamie McGinn Michal Handzus Torrey Mitchell
Brad Winchester Andrew Desjardins Andrew Murray
Dan Boyle Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Jason Demers Brent Burns
Douglas Murray Justin Braun
Thomas Greiss
Antti Niemi
Antero Niittymaki

Season Series

01/05/12 - Columbus at San Jose
01/14/12 - San Jose at Columbus
01/31/12 - Columbus at San Jose
02/21/12 - San Jose at Columbus

By The Numbers

CBJ - 2.37 G/G (26th)
SJS - 2.78 G/G (11th)

CBJ - 3.26 GA/G (27th)
SJS - 2.36 GA/G (8th)

Power Play
CBJ - 14.7% (23rd)
SJS - 17.7% (16th)

Penalty Kill
CBJ - 74.6% (29th)
SJS - 75.7% (28th)

Game Notes:

  • Lineup Notes - I refuse to buy into the reports that Jared Boll is playing on the second line. Whether Arniel really is that desperate is not for me to say. Boller lined up on the second line to start the game against Washington, and quickly went right back to the fourth line. So, despite the reports that Boll has been skating on the second line, I'm putting my fingers in my ears and yelling "La la la la la CAN'T HEAR YOU!!"
  • Scheduling - Strange that we're almost halfway through the season and have yet to see the Sharks. And, it's almost like the schedule makers forgot about this matchup and then halfway through went, "Oh yeah!" and decided to schedule all four season matchups within 47 days. These teams will get a little sick of each other, with three matchups in January.
  • Unfriendly Confines - The Jackets have not faired well against the Sharks out in Cali. If you take away the "road" game against San Jose last year that was played in Sweden, the Jackets are actually 2-15-2 when playing the Sharks in San Jose. And one of those wins came last season...
  • Special Teams - After a 6-for-14 stretch on the Power Play for Columbus spanning three games and capped with the four-goal PP explosion against Nashville, the Jackets are 0-for-9 in their last four games on the man advantage. San Jose is struggling on the PK, so tonight would be a good night to get back on the horse.

The Jackets play three games in four nights as they complete their first Cali-swing of the season. Just think... this is the last season in which they'll have two of these trips. At any rate, the Jackets should be rested, and they should be ticked off by the final period they played in calendar-year 2011.

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