It’s been more than a month since the San Jose Sharks won back-to-back games.
Meanwhile, victories continue to be few and too far between for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Kicking off a season-high eight-game stretch of road games, the Sharks try to hand the Blue Jackets a fourth consecutive loss on Saturday night.
San Jose is 4-7-4 since last winning two in a row on Dec. 9 and 13 — both against Arizona. However, the Sharks snapped an 0-2-1 slide by overcoming a 3-0 deficit to beat Central Division-leading Dallas 5-3 at home on Wednesday.
Erik Karlsson had a goal with three assists and Nick Bonino added one of each for San Jose, which totaled seven goals in its previous three contests.
“When you get deep in the season, it’s easy to kind of look at the situation and just quit — and we have done anything but that,” said Sharks coach David Quinn, whose team entered Friday’s play second-to-last in the Pacific Division with 14 wins and 37 points.
“It’s a great group to coach. They come to work every day, they bounce back after tough nights, which we’ve done. And, I just can’t say enough about our group.”
Amid the team’s collective dismal showing this season, Karlsson has been the brightest star, recording a team-leading 62 points in 46 games – including six in the last two. He’s the first defenseman since Paul Coffey in 1988-89 to reach at least 60 points in 46 or fewer contests.
With Ottawa and San Jose, Karlsson has totaled nine goals and 15 assists in 22 career games versus Columbus. Entering the first meeting between these two clubs and opening an extended stretch of road games that spans both sides of the All-Star break (Feb. 2-5), the Sharks have won three of the last four against the Blue Jackets.
With Thursday’s 5-3 home defeat to Anaheim, Columbus has dropped 15 of its last 18. The Blue Jackets, with one fewer win than San Jose, have been outscored 14-6 during a three-game losing streak at home, where they blew a 3-0 first-period lead to the lowly Ducks.
“That’s the learning process,” Columbus coach Brad Larsen said.
“This is a hard league; you can’t give an inch.”
Despite the loss, the Blue Jackets’ Jack Roslovic registered his fourth goal of the season to extend his point streak to four games. He has four goals with an assist in his last five games against the Sharks.
Columbus’ Elvis Merzlikins made 28 saves Thursday but has allowed 17 goals over his last four starts. Meanwhile, backup Daniil Tarasov owns a 3.14 goals-against average during his current 0-6-1 starting slide.
San Jose’s James Reimer stopped 33 shots against the Stars to post his 200th career win. However, he’s allowed 14 goals while losing his last three road starts in regulation. Backup Kaapo Kahkonen (3.87 GAA) made 34 saves versus Edmonton in his most recent start on Jan. 13 but yielded each Oilers’ goal during the 7-1 defeat.
San Jose has scored 16 goals while going 2-1-1 on the road this month.
–Field Level Media