Sharks Gameday: Sharks look for second win over Blue Jackets in 10 days



4:00 PST
24-11-5, 53 points 12-26-5, 29 points
3rd in Western Conference 15th in Western Conference
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Columbus Dispatch

Coming off their 2-0 win over the Winnipeg Jets Thursday night, the San Jose Sharks {24-11-5, 53 points} will look to defeat the hosting Columbus Blue Jackets {12-26-5, 29 points} for the second time in 10 days. All-time, the Sharks are 28-9-4 against the Blue Jackets.

Sitting atop the Pacific Division of the NHL Western Conference by three points over the second place Los Angeles Kings, the Sharks have just one regulation loss in their last 12 games {9-1-2}. Back on Jan. 5, the Sharks defeated the Blue Jackets 2-1 at HP Pavilion with goals from captain Joe Thornton and Ryane Clowe. Thomas Greiss {5-4, 2.22 goals against average, .922 save percentage} stopped 23-of-24 shots in the win and could get the start this game as the Sharks will be traveling to Chicago afterwards for a Sunday showdown with the Blackhawks.

In 28 career games against the Blue Jackets, Thornton has 36 points on 11 goals and 25 assists. All-Star forward Logan Couture will look to extend his goal scoring streak to three games.

Currently in last place of the Central Division of the NHL Western Conference by 23 points, the Blue Jackets front office fired head coach Scott Arniel on Monday, saying the season had "gone off the rails." Hired on June 8, 2010, Arniel was the franchise's fifth head coach and compiled a 45-60-18 record in 123 games.

In Arniel's place, the Blue Jackets named former Sharks assistant coach, and Minnesota Wild head coach, Todd Richards the interim head coach. After being defeated by the Blackhawks 5-2 on Tuesday night, the Blue Jackets snapped a two-game losing streak by defeating the Phoenix Coyotes 4-3 Friday night to get Richards his first win as Blue Jackets head coach.

Since recording a hat trick in a 3-0 Blue Jackets win at HP Pavilion on Nov. 20, 2010, Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash has been held scoreless in his last two games against the Sharks. In addition, the Blue Jackets will be without key players Jeff Carter {shoulder}, R.J. Umberger {concussion} and James Wisniewski {ankle].

Prediction: Sharks win 3-1 with goals from Michal Handzus, Brent Burns and Benn Ferriero.