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Blue Jackets at Sharks Preview: Hoping to reproduce Thursday’s magic

Seven more goals please?

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 15: Sergei Bobrovsky #72 of the Columbus Blue Jackets stops a shot from Chris Tierney #50 of the San Jose Sharks during the third period on October 15, 2016 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. San Jose defeated Columbus 3-2. Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Thursday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks was a good one for the San Jose Sharks. After struggling to produce offensively, the Sharks netted seven goals against a struggling Blackhawks team who they had fallen short to the week before. It was a glimmer of hope for us Sharks fans, and they’ll look to continue that momentum tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Without Joe Thronton, the Sharks have been looking for offensive depth from other players. Thursday’s game brought two goals from captain Joe Pavelski, and single goals from Logan Couture, Barclay Goodrow, Kevin Labanc, Timo Meier, and future Norris Trophy winner Marc-Édourad Vlasic. The Sharks were also coming off a win, putting the Edmonton Oilers down 5-2 two days prior to the Chicago game. What are the odds they keep the win streak going tonight?

The Columbus Blue Jackets play their third of four games in the Pacific tonight, and the roadie isn’t going great for them. Prior to embarking out west, the Blue Jackets won 5-1 over the Washington Capitals. They currently sit 0-2 against California teams

The Blue Jackets lost 5-2 against the Los Angeles Kings. Cam Atkinson and Seth Jones had the two goals. Joonas Korpisalo was between the pipes, making 29 saves. They took on the Anaheim Ducks next, losing 4-2. Zach Werenski and Sonny Milano found the back of the net, while netminder Sergei Bobrovsky made 31 saves. The Sharks will look to give the Blue Jackets their third California loss.

The Blue Jackets currently sit outside of a playoff spot with a 32-28-5 record. Artemi Panarin leads the team in points with 53. Seth Jones comes in second with 41 points. Sergei Bobrovsky has a .919 save percentage, allowing an average of 2.45 goals into the net.

How will the Sharks combat Artemi Panarin?

It’s no secret the Sharks have struggled a bit defensively this season. Artemi Panarin has 18 goals on the season, the team high which Josh Anderson tied. He’s struggled a bit with an undisclosed injury at the end of February. The Sharks defense has appeared stronger as of late, and they’ll need to be strong tonight. Artemi Panarin has an incredibly effective slapshot, something he perfected in his time with the Chicago Blackhawks. The Sharks blue line will have to be vigilant when it comes to number nine.

Will Aaron Dell get the start?

Aaron Dell could have taken a chance on the trade market to become a starting goalie at another club but chose to sign a two year, $3.8 million dollar contract extension here in San Jose. Sharks fans rejoiced of course because he has been pretty reliable in net this season. While Columbus has some scoring power for sure, they have been struggling. I wouldn’t be surprised if Martin Jones was rested tonight to let Dell make the start tonight. TWO MORE YEARS! TWO MORE YEARS!

More high scoring games, please?

The Sharks were finally on the positive end of a seven goal game (sorry I had to bring up that 7-1 loss to the Nashville Predators. Still hurts a little, eh?) against Chicago. Prior, they scored five on the Edmonton Oilers. The Sharks are seeing points produced by various players, and the offense is starting to look solid. Tonight the red-hot Sharks defense could take the opportunity to capitalize on a struggling Columbus team, score a good amount of goals, and secure their second place spot in the Pacific. A streak of high scoring games heading into playoffs? Yes, please.

Bold prediction: Aaron Dell will get the start and secure a shutout first start after his contract extension.

Make sure you check back for our gameday thread, as well as leave your bold predictions down in the comments below!