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Sharks Gameday: Four Goals in Ohio...

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4:00 PM PST
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10-4-1, 21 points 7-5-1, 15 points
2nd in Western Conference
9th in Western Conference
Television
NHLN-US
Radio
98.5 KFOX, Sjsharks.com
Antagonists
The Cannon

 

What up bitches - it's your backup admin doing backup duty for a back-to-back gameday thread.  Gotta do this shit right before Plank figures out the padlock combination and escapes

The Sharks' neverending nationwide tour (6-4-0) takes them to the Nationwide Arena today for Game #16 (aka Manny's Return), followed by a stop at the Joe Louis Arena tomorrow up the road in De-twat.  In the topsy-turvy world of early season standings, the Columbus Blue Jackets are tied with the Detroit Red Wings, even after losing 5 of their last 7. 

Hell, I'd be rooting for the BJ's myself if circumstances were a little different - i.e. if they weren't taking on the Teal Teeth.

*I admit it = the name "Teal Teeth" totally sucks dick, and won't be put to use again... just like your mother. 

Four points are at stake in the next 24 hours - after the jump you'll find a few points of my own.*

*Lest this particular point gets lost in the coming murk, this week marks the 6-month anniversary of the passing of uber-Columbus fan Ryan Salmons.  Mandatory reading - yes, the Jody Shelley article - found here.  New NHL article found here.  Pic of Ryan with Manny Malhotra found here.  Much love to Brad and family from all of us at FTF.

Recent History

I make no apologies for being a teacher - so here's your history lesson.  The last time these two teams tangled in Columbus was on February 7th of this year.

Twenty-nine seconds into the game, there was this minor incident:


Followed in the second period by this Blue Jacket reunion:


The Sharks lost 2-3 in O.T. on a goal by former NHL-er Christian Backman:


Of course, the last time San Jose and Columbus battled at all was just last month in the Sharks' home opener. 

Dany Heatley, San Jose; San Jose, Dany Heatley:


Charmed, to be sure.  Heater also had an assist, for 4 points and a plus-6.  Joe Thornton had 4 assists, and Dan Boyle had a three point night as well, as Steve Mason was routed in favor of Mathieu Garon.

Tonight, Tonight

Looking good, then, going into tonight's game? 

Not necessarily =

  • Columbus may be 1-14-2 at the Tank, but they're a formidable 9-6-1 in their own arena, with two of those 9 home wins coming last season. 
  • They've scored the first goal in their last 2 games against us. 
  • Super-stud winger Rick Nash is staring almost at eye-level with Patrick Marleau in the points department, having padded his stats with 3 points against Washington in Sunday's narrow victory.  He had 2 points on October 8th. 
  • San Jose fan favorite Raffi Torres has 6 goals this season, 2 of them in his last outing. 
  • The Sharks will still be without Joe Pavelski, Devin Setoguchi, Ryan Vesce, and Torrey Mitchell.

Counteracting this Columbus mojo? 

  • San Jose has won 5 straight games, including 3 on the road.
  • Patrick Marleau has points in his last 8 games
  • D-man Jan Hejda will be out for Columbus.  UPDATE = apparently tonight will be his first game back.  Kristian Huselius, however, will be out, along with Derick Brassard and Mike Commodore.
  • Dany Heatley is ready to take on Ken Hitchcock's double dare.
  • Both Evgeni Nabokov and Thomas Greiss have been playing on their heads in San Jose's last 5 games - Nabokov has let in only 1 goal in each of his last 3 games (.915 SV%) while Greiss stopped 37 shots against the Flyers.  His SV% after two games = .957%)
  • While Rick Nash might be lighting up the stat sheet (20 pts.), the next highest Blue Jacket is Antoine Vermette (12).  San Jose has 4 players (Marleau, Thornton, Healtey, and Boyle) who are all in between Nash and Vermette in points.

Things to Watch Out for Tonight

  • The aforementioned Raffi Torres and Rick Nash, the latter of whom will fly down the neutral zone before burying the puck somewhere between the pipes and your dreams.
  • Jody Shelley's ice time = 7:32 in Raleigh, 6:21 vs. Colorado, 6:41 against L.A., 5:28 against Philly, 5:00 against Atlanta.  Things are looking up, esp. with his assist against Carolina on Sunday.
  • Goaltending for Columbus =
  • G Steve Mason was pulled momentarily during the late stages of Sunday's game in Washington to buy a few extra seconds of rest for the Blue Jackets' depleted defense. Mathieu Garon took Mason's spot, delaying a faceoff and allowing the Jackets' defense—playing without Fedor Tyutin (hand) and Mike Commodore (charley horse) to catch its breath. Garon lasted for 1 minute, 31 seconds of ice time, then returned to the bench for Mason.
  • Attendance at the Nationwide Arena, 22nd best in the league.
  • The cannon = may it only fire the requisite one time.

Although the Columbus Blue Jackets have the luxury of playing 5 of their next 6 games at home, they join the San Jose Sharks in the back-to-back club today, as they'll fly to Atlanta for a game tomorrow.

Conico's Crystal Ball = Nabokov gets the start (17-4-2, 1.80 GAA lifetime against Columbus), San Jose gets the first goal, Manny Malhotra gets a point, and the Sharks edge the BJ's, 4-3.  Goals by Patrick Marleau, Dany Heatley, Douglas Murray, and Joe Thornton... in that order. 

GO SHARKS.

TRIVIA = Name the only Americans on Columbus' roster... and name the artist and song that Conico is referencing (and modifying) in the gameday title.