San Jose Sharks vs. Columbus Blue Jackets - 10/23/14
Columbus Blue Jackets (3-2-0) at San Jose Sharks (4-2-1)
NHL Hockey: Thursday
The Line: San Jose Sharks -180 / Columbus Blue Jackets +163 --- Over/Under: 5.5 See the Latest Odds
Things haven’t been easy for the Columbus Blue Jackets to start the year and now with the news of Nathan Horton potentially missing for the season it just makes their challenge even more difficult. Columbus had a magical ride last year into the playoffs and if a few things bounced their way they very easily could have beaten the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round. The Blue Jackets should be well rested for this one, having not played since Saturday’s loss in Ottawa. Columbus peppered Ottawa goaltender Robin Lehner with 40 shots on goal, including 17 in the third period, but a Senators goal midway through the final frame snapped the 2-2 tie and left the Blue Jackets with no points to show for their effort. Nick Foligno and David Savard scored less than a minute apart in the middle period to turn a 2-0 deficit into a tie game, and a lot of that play was sparked by a goaltending change after Ottawa’s second goal. Todd Richards wasn’t pleased with his club’s effort and made the switch to Sergei Bobrovksy to energize his team. The move worked but it was a lack of finishing ability that ultimately did in the Blue Jackets at the end. Columbus was 0-for-3 with the man advantage and scoring goals is going to continue to be a problem for this team this season. With all this time off to get some good practices in and a chance to get off to a good start on this road trip there should be a very solid effort in store from the Blue Jackets on Thursday night.
San Jose has now lost two straight games after getting off to a red hot start to the season, but head coach Todd McLellan was never too pleased with his team’s game to start the year. It was a very tough five game road trip for the Sharks that could have been a lot worse if not for their victory in New Jersey on Saturday night. The Sharks won a wild one to open the trip in Washington but proceeded to lose three of the final four games. San Jose had a three games in four nights stretch that left them with little jump against the New York Rangers in a 4-0 shutout defeat on Sunday evening, and despite a solid effort on Tuesday in Boston there were just too many mistakes to come away with any points. San Jose’s penalty kill allowed two goals and Boston generated too many high quality scoring chances from close range. Now they’ll get a brief two game home stand before heading back out on the road for three. Logan Couture scored twice in the game but was also a -2 on the night and Joe Thornton added his second goal of the year. Antti Niemi made 28 saves in the loss. The return home from a long road trip is always one of the most difficult games for a club and this is going to be a very tough test for San Jose against a hard working Columbus club.
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The Blue Jackets are underdogs in this one but there’s reason to like them in this spot with a few days off to work on things. San Jose is very difficult to beat on home ice but with the way the Sharks have looked the last few games and the tough circumstances they’re going to be under there’s a lot of value with Columbus in this one.