Pelech drops gloves in first San Jose shift
Fourteen different Blue Jackets tallied points against the Sharks Monday. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
COLUMBUS -- Throughout the Sharks’ losing streak, there was a sense of calm and coolness about the team, which hadn’t played particularly poorly despite zero wins in the last four games.
It might be time to hit the panic button.
The Sharks were outworked, outclassed and thoroughly dominated by the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets in a 6-2 loss on Monday night at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets entered the game last in the NHL with just a 3-7-2 record, but embarrassed the Sharks in front of a sparse crowd.
Brandon Dubinsky’s goal just 43 seconds in set the tone, and three goals early in the third period put the exclamation point on San Jose’s worst loss of the season. The Sharks are 0-3-2 in their last five games, and haven’t won in regulation since Jan. 27 (2-3-2).
Leading 1-0 after the first, Columbus increased its lead to 3-0 in the second, ending the Sharks’ penalty killing streak in the process.
Penalties to Brad Stuart and Adam Burish put the Sharks down two men for 36 seconds. They killed off Stuart’s minor, but James Wisniewski scored on a wrist shot from the slot at 13:05 on a pass from Derick Brassard, after great work in the corner by R.J. Umberger.
The Sharks had killed 36 straight opponent power plays before Wisniewski’s goal.
Just 71 seconds later, rookie defenseman Cody Goloubef’s slap shot through traffic found the back of the net to make it 3-0. The Sharks cut into the lead on the ensuing faceoff, when Patrick Marleau’s sneaky wrister beat Steve Mason 13 seconds after Goloubef’s marker.
It took all of 21 seconds of the third period for Columbus to get its three-goal cushion back, when Nikita Nikitin beat Thomas Greiss from the circle after good offensive pressure by the Blue Jackets.
Vinny Prospal made it 5-1 on a pass from Nick Foligno after Marc-Edouard Vlasic dropped his stick at 5:37, and Mark Letestu’s harmless-looking wrister from the high slot deflected into the top corner off of Vlasic’s stick just eight seconds later. Joe Pavelski’s late power play goal capped the scoring.
Columbus outshot the Sharks in the game, 36-27.
The Sharks outshot the Blue Jackets 11-10 in the first period, but Columbus had the better of the scoring chances after Dubinsky’s early marker.
Greiss stopped Dubinsky on a shorthanded breakaway with 12:19 to go in the first period, catching Justin Braun out of position. Later, the former Rangers forward who came over in the Rick Nash trade was denied by Greiss on a two-on-one rush with less than two minutes to go in the opening frame.
The Sharks penalty kill streak fell short of the franchise record of 45, set in 2003. The Blue Jackets were 2-for-4 after the Sharks had not allowed a single power play goal in the previous eight games.
The Sharks scored a power play goal in garbage time, on a one-timer by Pavelski, finishing 1-for-3. They had been just 1-for-27 before the goal, which came with just 1:52 to go.
Greiss struggled in his third start of the season, after he had given up just two goals in his first two games combined. He allowed all six Columbus goals on 36 shots.
Mason got his second win in seven starts, with 25 saves.
Matt Pelech was recalled from Worcester and lined up as a fourth line forward. It didn’t take long to notice him, as he dropped the gloves with Jared Boll less than three minutes into the game. Last season, Boll was fined for elbowing Sharks forward Andrew Desjardins in the head.
Douglas Murray returned to the lineup after a one-game absence in place of Jason Demers.
The Sharks continue their road trip in Nashville on Tuesday, and Chicago on Friday. They’ll fly home after that game before facing the Blues in St. Louis on Feb. 19.
Along with the Pelech-Boll fight in the first, Adam Burish had a bout with Derek Dorsett, with Dorsett getting the decision. … Marleau’s 10 goals place him second in the league behind Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek (11). He ended a five-game scoreless streak. … Goloubef, a 2008 second round draft pick, scored his first goal in the NHL in his fifth career game. … Joe Thornton ended a five-game scoreless streak with an assist on Pavelski’s goal.