(SportsNetwork.com) – The Columbus Blue Jackets will try to register
consecutive victories for the first time since opening the season 2-0 when
they host the San Jose Sharks in Saturday’s battle at Nationwide Arena.
The Blue Jackets halted a nine-game slide Friday in Philadelphia, as
James Wisniewski and Nick Foligno each scored two goals to give Columbus a
much-needed 4-3 victory.
The game also marked Scott Hartnell’s return to Philadelphia. Hartnell spent
seven seasons in Philadelphia before getting shipped to Columbus in June for
fellow forward R. J. Umberger and a fourth-round draft pick.
The crowd gave Hartnell, who ended with six shots, a standing ovation midway
through the first period when the Flyers played a video tribute of his
highlights in a Philadelphia uniform.
“We got a win — a much needed win,” said Hartnell. “It was real big for our
Curtis McElhinney stopped 24-of-27 shots for the Blue Jackets, who will get
No. 1 goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky back between the pipes tonight. Bobrovsky
was activated from injured reserve Friday and served as the backup to
McElhinney in Philadelphia. He hasn’t played since injuring his finger on Oct.
26 against Los Angeles.
The 2013 Vezina Trophy winner is 3-1-2 with a 2.78 goals against average in
six career outings versus the Sharks.
The good news for the Jackets is one of their five wins this season did come
against the Sharks, as Columbus notched a 5-4 regulation win in San Jose on
Oct. 23. The Blue Jackets have claimed five of the past seven encounters in
this series and the clubs have split the last six meetings in Ohio.
While Columbus aims to build some momentum on Saturday, the Sharks also will
try to win consecutive games for the first time this month. San Jose, which
opened the season with three straight wins, hasn’t put together two victories
in a row since beating Anaheim and Colorado on Oct. 26 and 28.
The Sharks halted a two-game slide and improved to 2-2-0 on a seven-game road
trip with Thursday’s 2-1 victory against Tampa Bay. Antti Niemi held down the
high-scoring Lightning with 32 saves, while Tyler Kennedy and Joe Thornton
provided goals for the Sharks.
San Jose fired 17 shots at net in the opening period without scoring a goal,
but the Sharks kept the pressure on and eventually grabbed a 1-0 lead on
Thornton’s tally at 5:23 of the second period. Kennedy notched his first
marker of the season just over five minutes later.
“It was a complete team effort,” said Sharks center Tommy Wingels.
Niemi had to be at his best in the third period, when the Lighting turned the
tables and outshot San Jose by a 16-8 margin. Tampa’s only goal came midway
through the third when Steven Stamkos redirected an Andrej Sustr shot past
With goaltender Alex Stalock on injured reserve due to a knee injury and the
Sharks due to play on back-to-back days this weekend, Troy Grosenick could
make his NHL debut tonight or in Sunday’s meeting with Carolina.
Niemi is 5-4-0 with a 3.28 goals against average in his career against