Game Preview: The Annual California Road Trip Begins As Columbus Blue Jackets Take On San Jose Sharks

By Chris Pennington on November 1, 2018 at 7:05 am
Cam Atkinson is currently second on the Blue Jackets in points with 11, and tied for first with six.

Stan Szeto – USA TODAY Sports

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If you plan on staying awake past midnight eastern time for any of these three games, this one will likely set the precedent.

One of the toughest opponents the Blue Jackets have faced in this young season awaits them tonight in Silicon Valley.

The San Jose Sharks, one of the best offensive teams in the NHL and certainly not a pushover on defense, will certainly be looking for a victory to potentially propel them into second place in the league in points.

The Blue Jackets, on the other hand, are still in identity-finding mode.

After two solid-to-respectable wins against the St. Louis Blues and Buffalo Sabres where the offense exploded and Joonas Korpisalo looked solid, the Blue Jackets imploded against the league-worst Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday.

Just when it seemed they were working through some early-season kinks, the offense sputtered for two periods, Korpisalo last only 13 minutes and a short-lived three-goal rally went for naught. 

So, what better way to get back on track then by getting as far away as possible from a pissed-off Columbus fan base and try and get some points against decent west-coast competition? The road trip – and time out of town – might be good for them.


Projected Lines

Panarin – Dubois – Atkinson

Duclair – Wennberg – Bjorkstrand

Foligno – Jenner – Anderson

Sedlak – Nash – Hannikainen

Defensemen

Werenski – Jones

Murray – Nutivaara

Harrington – Savard

Goaltender

Bobrovsky

Storylines

  • After coach John Tortorella's comments hat he was riding the "hot hand" in going with Korpisalo, it didn't turn out well Tuesday. Tortorella said Wednesday that Bobrovsky will start in San Jose, but beyond that, the goaltending is a mystery on this California roadie with three games in four days.
  • The Sharks are currently tied for seventh in the NHL in points, and are second in the league in goals scored. They boast a nearly 87% penalty killing percentage, good for sixth in the league (good luck scoring if somehow Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson are out together), and their power play is ranked 14th at almost 22%. 
  • Brandon Dubinsky said he wants to make his return to action at some point during the California road trip, and is indeed traveling with the team. We may not seem him on the ice tonight, but getting Dubinsky back to centering a third or fourth line will be a huge help, and will likely bump Lukas Sedlak or Markus Hännikäinen out of the rotation.

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