(Sports Network) - It's been a tale of two months for the San Jose Sharks in
On Monday, the sliding Sharks hope to recapture some of their January magic
when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.
The Sharks opened the season with a 7-0 record in January, but the new month
finds San Jose searching for answers. The club is 0-2-2 in February and has
managed a total of five goals during that stretch.
San Jose was shut out for the first time this season in its last trip to the
ice, losing a 1-0 shootout decision Saturday at Phoenix. Mikkel Boedker scored
the winner in the decisive phase after the teams played scoreless hockey for
After Michal Handzus was stopped by Mike Smith, Boedker skated in on net and
faked to the backhand before lifting it over a sprawled-out Antti Niemi.
Smith then kept out James Sheppard's wrister before Radim Vrbata sealed the
win by beating Niemi with the same fake and shot as Boedker.
Niemi made 21 stops for his 20th career shutout and first of the season for
"He likes to play deep in the net and he was catching everything," Sharks
forward Ryane Clowe said of Smith. "He was grabbing pucks out of the air. He
Sharks forward Patrick Marleau was once again noticeably absent from the
scoresheet. He has been held without a point over the last five games after
recording an amazing nine goals and five assists in his first six outings of
San Jose starts a six-game road trip on Monday and is 2-1-0 as the visiting
club this season.
At 3-7-2 on the season, the Blue Jackets are tied with three other teams at
the bottom of the Western Conference. Columbus enter Monday's contest having
lost three straight and five of its last six games.
The Blue Jackets hosted Edmonton on Sunday and were dealt a 3-1 setback. The
score was tied at 1-1 heading into the final minute of regulation but late
scored by Magnus Paajarvi and Sam Gagner allowed the Oilers to claim two
points at Nationwide Arena.
Paajarvi scored on a one-timer with 3:10 left to put Edmonton ahead and Gagner
sealed the win with an empty-net goal.
R.J. Umberger picked up the lone score for the Blue Jackets, while Sergei
Bobrovsky allowed two goals on 13 shots in defeat.
"We just gave them a couple of goals that we shouldn't have," Umberger said.
"It doesn't matter how well you played. It's the two points that matter."
The Blue Jackets have managed one win (1-3-1) on a six-game homestand that
ends against the Sharks. Columbus is just 2-4-2 as the host this season.
The Sharks won three of four against Columbus in 2011-12 and have claimed six
of nine in this series overall. The Blue Jackets do have wins in four of the
last seven encounters at Nationwide Arena.
The Sports Network