|SAN JOSE SHARKS|
19-36-12 (50 points; .373%)
10:30 P.M. – TUESDAY, MARCH 14
SAN JOSE, OHIO
Bally Sports Ohio
ESPN+ (Out of Market)
|ODDS OF CBJ WIN PER MONEYPUCK: 41%|
|ODDS OF CBJ WIN PER THE 538: 45%|
|CAESAR'S SPORTSBOOK: SJS -155|
Who are you rooting for?
It's a valid question Tuesday night when the Columbus Blue Jackets start a five-game road trip in California against the San Jose Sharks.
The two teams rank at the bottom of the league and the team that finishes with the worse record is going to have a better chance — potentially a drastically better chance — at drafting once-in-a-decade talent Connor Bedard this summer.
Make no mistake about it, though: both clubhouses want to win. They're playing for anything ranging from pride to their potential career, so no one is going to be tanking on the ice.
But it's tough to imagine that either front office wants the points. With just a month left in the season, Tuesday's game could go a long way in deciding where Bedard lands.
Here's what to know for Tuesday night's intriguing matchup:
|SHARKS: LAST THREE GAMES|
|TUE, 3/7||@ Avalanche||L, 6-0|
|THU, 3/9||@ Blues||L, 4-2|
|SAT, 3/11||vs. Wild||L, 5-2|
|SHARKS: TEAM LEADERS|
Timo Maier (traded)
TALKING POINTS: SHARKS
It would be fair to say that San Jose has struggled all year: they've won three in a row just once, and that was pre-Thanksgiving. Most recently, they're 1-5-0 in the month of March and have been outscored 31-13 in that six-game stretch. None of the five losses have been particularly close, with four of them being decided by three or more goals (and the other one was decided by two).
The Sharks do have a recent history of playing up to their opponents, though: they are a combined 4-1-4 against the Blue Jackets, Blackhawks, Ducks, and Coyotes. The regulation loss? Columbus, of course: a 5-3 final from Nationwide Arena in January.
Columbus has had problems between the pipes this year — but San Jose's has been even worse. James Reimer and Kaapo Kahkonen have split duties this year and as a team, the Sharks have an .880 save percentage. That ranks 31st in the league, ahead of only the Vancouver Canucks' .877 and over a full percentage point behind the Blue Jackets' .894.
Erik Karlsson appreciation bullet point. The 32-year-old defenseman would have the Norris Trophy (best defensive player in the league) wrapped up if the team around him was even mildly good. They're not, but his numbers are gawdy: 20 goals, 64 assists, and 84 points as a defenseman. He leads the league in all three categories amongst blue liners. (He's also good at defending).
- They traded team-leading goal scorer Timo Meier to the New Jersey Devils last month, so they lost a key clog in this next state — but it's still worth mentioning, because despite the second-worst record in the league, the San Jose Sharks lead the league in high-danger shots on goal. They're at 171, just ahead of Carolina (170) and Pittsburgh (162). The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, check in 28th at 108.
TALKING POINTS: CBJ
Johnny Gaudreau picked up two assists in Saturday's loss to the St. Louis Blues. It was just the second time in his last 16 games that Columbus' point-leader had a multi-point game. For the season, Gaudreau has one multi-goal game (in October), 15 multi-point games (11 games with two points and four three-point efforts), and has no points in 25 of his 63 games.
It sure does seem like a two-player race for who leads the club in goals this season: Patrik Laine's 21 and Boone Jenner's 20 lead the team, despite both players missing double-digit games with injuries. Kirill Marchenko, who has played in just 42 games after starting the season in the minors, is third on the team with 16.
- Look for Lane Pederson on the ice Tuesday. He has just one point in seven games with the Blue Jackets after being waived by the Canucks earlier in the season, but a recent uptick in minutes (more than ten minutes in in each of his last two games after averaging under eight in his first five) could mean that in the absence of Sean Kuraly, coach Brad Larsen and company see something in the 25-year-old center.
PROJECTED CBJ LINES
Updated: 7:05 a.m. // Subject to Change
|13||Johnny Gaudreau||38||Boone Jenner||86||Kirill Marchenko|
|91||Kent Johnson||96||Jack Roslovic||29||Patrik Laine|
|50||Eric Robinson||34||Cole Sillinger||52||Emil Bemstrom|
|19||Liam Foudy||18||Lane Pederson||24||Mathieu Olivier|
|75||Tim Berni||44||Eric Gudbranson|
|77||Nick Blankenburg||2||Andrew Peeke|
|15||Gavin Bayreuther||27||Adam Boqvist|
|31||Michael Hutchinson||40||Daniil Tarasov|