A New Low- It’s seems that it’s almost time to start calling the people that make the milk cartons and see if they can put a picture of the Sharks team that won their first seven games of the season. That team has gone missing in the night and so far nobody can seem to find them. That team certainly was not hanging out in Columbus, Ohio Monday Night as the Blue Jackets thrashed team teal 6-2 in a game where the Sharks appeared to show up in name only. The Sharks fell behind just 43 seconds into the game. Even though they managed to keep it close through the middle of the second, to say this wasn’t going the Sharks night was a gross understatement. The Blue Jackets simply out competed and outplayed the Sharks in every facet of the game. This may not be one of the worst games in Sharks franchise history, but it should easily crack the top ten in this category. The Sharks simply had no answers for the Blue Jackets as the first game of a six game road trip that features the likes of St Louis and Chicago twice gets off to an extremely poor start. Even arriving a day early and having opportunities to rest up before the game did not seem to be much help to a Sharks team that can barely find the back of the net let alone buy a win.
The Readers Digest Version of the Carnage- Brandon Dubinsky, acquired by the Blue Jackets from the New York Rangers in the Rick Nash trade last summer only needed 43 seconds to give Columbus a 1-0 lead as the Sharks seemed confused in an early scramble around their net. Dubinsky took advantage of the Blue Jackets crashing the net early against Sharks starting goalie Thomas Greiss. In the confusion around the net, Dubinsky found the puck in front of the Sharks goal and knocked it into the net past Greiss. The assist went to the Blue Jackets Matt Calvert and Fedor Tyutin. Shortly after Columbus took the early lead, the Sharks had two power play chances but failed miserably both times managing just one shot on goal. So bad was the Sharks Power Play that on a clear by the Blue Jackets down ice played by Greiss almost got past him into the net. Sharks did pick up their play later as Michal Handzus almost tied game but hit the goal post after the Blue Jackets first goal. The Sharks despite picking up their play still seemed a step behind the Blue Jackets. Team teal would outshoot the Blue Jackets 11-10 in the opening period.
This would be as good as it would get for the Sharks all game long. In the second period team teal would get badly outplayed for a good deal of the period as they started to get into penalty trouble. Penalties to Brent Burns and Brad Stuart gave the Blue Jackets a five on three power play opportunity. Though the Sharks would manage to kill of the two man disadvantage, they could not kill of the entire power play as James Wisniewski scored with just 17 seconds remaining in the Blue Jackets man advantage. This snapped a streak of 36 penalty kills for the Sharks. Just 61 seconds later Cody Goloubef scored to give the Blue Jackets a 3-0 lead. Just 13 seconds afterward the Sharks would dent the scoreboard when Patrick Marleau scored to bring the Sharks back to within two at 3-1. This was Marleau’s first goal in seven games and the Sharks first goal in seven periods overall. Tommy Wingles came close to making it a one goal game shortly after Marleau scored but Steve Mason made a diving save. Outside of Marleau’s goal and Wingles near miss, Sharks were totally dominated for the period. Columbus even won more faceoffs having won 20 to the Sharks 16.
Blue Jackets Leave No Doubt- Nikita Nikitin would need just 21 seconds of the third period to score and make it a 4-1 Columbus lead. Any wind the Sharks had left in the sails faded fairly quickly after that. Team teal afterward just struggled to try and compete and really did not do a very good job of that either. Later in the final period Vinny Prospal and Mark Letestu scored 12 seconds apart to make it 6-1 in favor of the Blue Jackets. To be fair not all goal’s are on Greiss as the Sharks just never showed up to play this game in what could be called one of the franchises worst efforts in some time. Joe Pavelski added a garbage time goal with 1:52 remaining to play. Sharks now have five straight winless games (0-3-2) after a 7-0-0 start. With St Louis and Chicago later in the road trip, the Sharks are now a quarter way through the season. However, at the same time it appears as if team teal has already arrived at the crossroads of their season as well.
Shark Bytes- Both Marleau and Joe Thornton broke a streak of games in which neither had a goal or assist. Columbus outshot the Sharks 36-27 for the game, and 26-16 over the last two periods. Thomas Greiss in relief of Antti Niemi this year is 1-2-0, having posted five consecutive periods of shut out goal tending. Since the third period of the Sharks game in Anaheim last week, Greiss has given up 8 goals over the last four periods. Going into play Monday Night the Blue Jackets were tied for worst record of the 15 teams in the Western Conference with a 3-7-2 mark. The Sharks last win in regulation was January 27th at home against Vancouver. The Sharks have played seven games since then. Marleau’s goal was his 10th of the season and his first since that January 27th game. Pavelski’s goal was his sixth of the season. The three stars of the game were ofcourse all Blue Jackets, 3) Matt Calvert; 2) Nick Folingo, and 1) Brandon Dubinsky. The goal scored by Dubinsky was registered on the games first shot on goal.
Next Sharks Game- Sharks travel to Nashville to take on the Predators Tuesday Night in the second meeting of the two teams this season. Nashville took the first meeting at the Shark Tank getting a 2-1 win via the shootout on February 2nd. The Sharks will be starting Antti Niemi in goal as the Sharks try to stop a skid that started on Ground Hog Day.
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