The Sharks’ frustrations on the power play continue to haunt them into the month of March, as San Jose fell to the Columbus Blue Jackets by a score of 4-2 tonight. San Jose is now 0 for their last 28 on the man advantage, including the 0-4 effort against the league’s fifth-worst penalty kill in Columbus.
The Sharks earned their first power play opportunity seven minutes into the game when Nick Foligno caught Brenden Dillon with a hook on the hands. Both of San Jose’s power play units were able to generate some solid scoring chances, including an incredible save by Sergei Bobrovsky on a tip play by Joe Pavelski. After finally killing off the penalty, the Blue Jackets were able to start a rush up the ice, and Nick Foligno, fresh out of the box, beat Martin Jones underneath the arm to score the first goal of the game and his 14th of the year.
Jack Johnson took an interference penalty shortly after the first goal of the game, but the Sharks weren’t as potent on the man advantage the second time around. The Sharks were only able to put one shot on net, when Timo Meier rifled a close-range effort right into the glove of Bobrovsky.
Relentless pressure from the Sharks led to their third power play chance in the first period when Zach Werenski hooked Mikkel Boedker on the hands in front of the Columbus net. However, San Jose’s first unit, consisting of Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski, Tomas Hertl, Evander Kane and Logan Couture, continued to be frustrated by the league’s worst road penalty-killing unit, again only mustering one shot on goal.
In similar fashion to the first Columbus goal, the Blue Jackets flew up the ice as soon as they returned to even strength and cashed in to make the score 2-0. Boone Jenner made a beautiful backhand pass across the slot to Sonny Milano, who tapped it past Jones for his 11th of the year.
Artemi Panarin nearly made the score 3-0 with under a minute to go in the period, but Martin Jones made a spectacular sliding save to rob the Bread Man on a spicy one-timed effort.
Though the Sharks had three power play chances to the Blue Jackets’ zero, Columbus and San Jose both finished the first period with 10 shots on goal apiece. San Jose’s power play failed to convert for the 27th time in a row, and this would certainly be a point of emphasis for Pete DeBoer and his staff going into the dressing room down by two goals.
Just five minutes into the second period, Ian Cole took a wrist shot from the blueline that Melker Karlsson was unable to block and Martin Jones was unable to track. The shot went through traffic and Artemi Panarin was able to tip the puck past the glove of Jones, giving the Blue Jackets a 3-0 lead. Jones was then pulled for backup Aaron Dell after giving up three goals on just 13 shots in 25 minutes of ice time.
The Sharks took their first penalty of the game a few minutes later when Joakim Ryan inadvertently flipped a puck out of play in the defensive zone. The home team was fortunate enough to kill off the penalty, but not before allowing Cam Atkinson to ring one off the post past a screened Dell.
After a dominating second period from Columbus, the Sharks were finally able to break through with just a minute and a half left in the second. A strong transition through the neutral zone led by Joe Pavelski and Evander Kane eventually led to a shot by Dylan Demelo from the right point. Joonas Donskoi, positioned perfectly in front of the net, was able to deflect the puck and bounce it by Bobrovsky for his 12th of the year. With the goal, Donskoi increased his point-scoring streak to three games, while Dylan Demelo picked up his fourth assist in just two games.
San Jose headed into the third period only down 3-1, but Columbus led San Jose 37-30 in shot attempts and showed no signs of slowing down.
Early in the third period, the Sharks earned their fourth power play chance of the game on a tripping call to Ian Cole. Though the Sharks were unable to snap the power play scoring drought the fourth time around, the second unit looked much better than they did earlier in the game, sustaining zone time and generating plenty of chances in front of the net.
After killing a penalty of their own, San Jose began to build momentum from their penalty kill as Columbus had done earlier in the game. After a turnover in the neutral zone by the Blue Jackets, Joe Pavelski found a wide-open Evander Kane at the top of the left circle. Kane then took a shot across his body to the right side of the net, where it sailed just underneath Bobrovsky’s glove to make the score 3-2. Kane’s 21st goal of the season was his first as a San Jose Shark, and the goal counts as his fifth point in just three games with his new team.
The Sharks kept pushing hard late in the game to get the equalizer, gaining a 55-48 lead in shot attempts, but it was too little, too late. The Sharks were able to pull Aaron Dell to try to get the tying goal with under two minutes to go, but a bad giveaway in the neutral zone led to an empty-net goal from Artemi Panarin to seal the game for the Blue Jackets.
- The newly formed top line of Joonas Donskoi, Joe Pavelski and Evander Kane has combined for 16 points in the three games with Kane on the roster.
- Aaron Dell was outstanding in relief of Martin Jones, stopping all 14 shots he faced in the second half of the game.
- The second-place Sharks (35-22-9, 79 points) are now only one point ahead of the Anaheim Ducks, and just two points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division. San Jose continues the homestand on Thursday night against the struggling St. Louis Blues (35-26-5, 75 points).