Columbus at San Jose
When: 10:30 PM
ET, Thursday, October 23, 2014
Where: SAP Center at San Jose, San Jose, California
The San Jose Sharks have one of the league's most grueling early-season schedules, playing nine of their first 12 away from home, but they will get a brief respite from the road when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday. The Sharks are coming off a 2-2-1 road trip, closing the five-game trek with losses to the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins. Set to play only its second home game, San Jose won a pair of one-goal decisions over the Blue Jackets last season.
Columbus is well rested, having been idle since a 3-2 setback at Ottawa on Saturday, but it faces a daunting task with three games in four days against Pacific Division powers San Jose, Anaheim and reigning Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles. The Blue Jackets are missing three of their top forwards to injury, but they are compensating with some strong work on the penalty kill, not allowing a goal in 11 short-handed situations. Columbus has lost 20 of its last 24 meetings in San Jose.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, FSOH (Columbus), CSN California (San Jose)
ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (3-2-0): Nathan Horton, who has been sidelined along with fellow forwards Brandon Dubinsky and Boone Jenner since the season started, is dealing with a back injury that threatens his career, the Columbus Dispatch reported. Horton, who signed a seven-year deal worth $37.1 million a year ago, has a degenerative issue with his lower spine and is in constant pain, his agent told the newspaper. Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said rest is the immediate plan for Horton, who played in only 36 games last season - registering five goals and 19 points.
ABOUT THE SHARKS (4-2-1): San Jose was in the midst of a promising road trip until a 4-0 battering by the Rangers was followed by a third-period collapse in Boston, when the Bruins scored three times to snatch away a 5-3 victory. “We’ve still got to get better,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "If we’re giving up four goals a night, we’re not going to win very many games at all doing that." McLellan was pleased with the play of center James Sheppard, who won two-thirds of his faceoffs (6-of-9) while logging 13 1/2 minutes of ice team in his season debut.
1. Blue Jackets G Sergei Bobrovsky is 2-1-2 with a 2.53 goals-against average versus San Jose.
2. Sharks leading scorer Patrick Marleau (441) needs one goal to snap a tie for 61st place on the all-time list with Steve Larmer and Rick Vaive.
3. Columbus C Ryan Johansen has four goals in eight games against the Sharks.
PREDICTION: Sharks 4, Blue Jackets 2
Stats and Records