Game Preview #6 - Shark Infested Waters...

The Jackets have had a nice layoff after Saturday's loss in Ottawa. Can they rebound as they kick off their California swing?

Columbus Blue Jackets at San Jose Sharks

October 23, 2014 - 10:30 pm EDT
SAP Center - San Jose, California
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponent's Blog: Fear The Fin

First and foremost, I got out of bed around 8:45 this morning. This is after getting into my bed at 7:30 PM. On Tuesday night. In other words, I've been sick with some kind of monster energy-sucking virus. At times over the past couple of days, I've felt like this guy. So, if this preview is crap, well, there you go. Briefcase tacos.

At any rate, the Jackets have been in California all week preparing for three games in four days through the Golden State. For the life of me, I never understand why the NHL schedule-makers see fit to make the Jackets play a back-to-back WITH travel, when they could much more easily play the back-to-back in LA with no travel. They do this to us every time. Sucks.

Anyway, the Jackets have had some time to work through their loss on Saturday (the Sharks actually had less time between games and longer travel, oddly enough), and spent some time on Tuesday doing some team-building. They have also made some tweaks to their lineup, at least in practice. It looks like Scott Hartnell will stay up on the top line with Ryan Johansen and Nick Foligno, and Cam Atkinson will drop to the third line with Matt Calvert and Alexander Wennberg. This makes sense, as Wennberg just plays more like a natural center and should fit in with the speed and hustle of the Atkinverts. The second line is completely jumbled, with Mark Letestu moving up and Jack Skille staying up. Hopefully this can help Letestu get going.

The Sharks started off super hot, getting nine points in their first five games (4-0-1). They have, however, lost two in a row as they finished a crazy road trip. They lost in New York and in Boston, though after that much travel it certainly makes some sense. They've only played one home game thus far, but imagine they will be happy to be back at home.

That said, Columbus has played the Sharks well over the past few seasons, as for some reason the Jackets' physicality seems to take San Jose out of their game. These teams have been remarkably similar in terms of their overall stats, with the difference being special teams. The Sharks' Power Play has been--as usual--very good whereas the Jackets' has been middle of the road. Conversely, the Sharks' PK has been pretty atrocious thus far, whereas Columbus is yet to allow a PPG. Whether those things will cancel each other out could go a long way toward deciding this game.

As of now, nothing official has been announced for the Sharks in goal. They've been alternating between Niemi and Stalock every game. By that rationale, it would be Stalock's turn to start. Both have been solid, but Stalock's numbers have been slightly better. We shall see.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(3-2-0, 6 Points; 6th division, 12th conference)

Scott Hartnell Ryan Johansen Nick Foligno
Mark Letestu Artem Anisimov Jack Skille
Matt Calvert Alexander Wennberg Cam Atkinson
Adam Cracknell Michael Chaput Jared Boll
Jack Johnson David Savard
Tim Erixon James Wisniewski
Fedor Tyutin Dalton Prout
Sergei Bobrovsky
Anton Forsberg

San Jose Sharks
(4-2-1, 9 Points; 3rd Division, 5th Conference)

Patrick Marleau Logan Couture Tommy Wingels
Matt Nieto Joe Thornton Joe Pavelski
Tomas Hertl James Sheppard Andrew Desjardins
John Scott Adam Burish Eriah Hayes
Marc-Edouard Vlasic Justin Braun
Matt Irwin Brent Burns
Jason Demers Scott Hannan
Antti Niemi
Alex Stalock

Season Series

10/23/14 - Columbus at San Jose
11/15/14 - San Jose at Columbus

Head to Head Stats

San Jose Columbus
3.14 (8) GPG 3.00 (12)
2.71 (16) GAPG 2.40 (13)
23.1% (11) PP% 15.0% (19)
75.0% (23) PK% 100.0% (2)
Patrick Marleau, 4 G leader Cam Atkinson / Ryan Johansen, 3
Brent Burns, 7 A leader Nick Foligno, 5
Patrick Marleau, 9 Pts leader Nick Foligno / Ryan Johansen, 7
Andrew Desjardins, 14 PIM leader Jack Skille, 7
1-0-0 Home/Road 1-1-0
4-2-1 Last 10 3-2-0
10/21 @ Boston, L 5-3 Last Game 10/18 @ Ottawa, L 3-2

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