Columbus looking to build under Richards


Columbus looking to build under Richards

COLUMBUS Its been a miserable season for the Columbus Blue Jackets any way you look at it. They are, however, coming off of one of their better efforts of the season in Friday nights 4-3 home win against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Theyll play a second consecutive game tonight at Nationwide Arena against the Sharks.

Were really hoping to build off of last night and bring it into tonight, Rick Nash said on Saturday morning. Two home games in a row is exciting, and hopefully we can get two wins in a row out of it.

Right now weve got a little small snowball in our hand. Were putting it in the ground, and hopefully we can roll it and turn it into the base of a snowman, head coach Todd Richards said. Thats where youve got to start. Get the foundation going, and then add to the top of it.

The game marked the first win for Richards, who replaced Scott Arniel as head coach of the Blue Jackets on Monday and lost his debut in Chicago on Tuesday, 5-2. Richards, the former head coach of the Minnesota Wild, was an assistant under Todd McLellan in San Jose for one season.

Its the second meeting between the Sharks and Blue Jackets, as San Jose won 2-1 at HP Pavilion on Jan. 5 behind goals from Joe Thornton and Ryane Clowe. Thomas Greiss, who will start again tonight, got the win with 23 saves in net.

My feeling on that game was San Jose was better than us, Richards said. We did probably get the result that we should have gotten. I did think we battled and competed, but they were better in certain areas than we were.

The Sharks outshot the Blue Jackets, 39-24.

When youre coming out of your own end and you just throw it out, obviously the other team is going to have the puck the whole night, Nash said. It seemed like we were doing a bit of that last game against San Jose.

One player to watch for Columbus is forward Derek Brassard, who is playing on the injury-plagued Blue Jackets top line. Forward Jeff Carter is on injured reserve with a separated shoulder, while forward R.J. Umberger and defenseman James Wisniewski are also unavailable.

Brassard had the game-winning goal and an assist, and had a key blocked shot at the end of the game to preserve the rare win for Columbus (12-26-5).

Hes playing hungry for the puck, he wants the puck, hes moving his feet a lot, Nash said. Hes making things happen instead of waiting for them to happen. He can be a top player in this league, hes just got to believe in himself and keep working at it.

Since Ive been here, 43 games, this is the best game Ive seen him play, said Richards, who started the season as an assistant before taking over the main duties. I think where he excelled was his play without the puck. He put himself in positions to get the puck, and once he got the puck, then he made plays.

One more note regarding the Blue Jackets: they reportedly picked up forward Colton Gillies off of waivers from Minnesota this morning. Hes not expected to play tonight.

Thornton leaves game vs Jets in final minute with apparent knee injury

Thornton leaves game vs Jets in final minute with apparent knee injury

The San Jose Sharks not only lost in overtime to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday, but also lost their second-leading scorer to injury. 

Joe Thornton left the final minute of the game with an apparent injury to his right knee. With Jets forward Andrew Copp backchecking, Mikkel Boedker collided into Thornton's knee in front of the Sharks bench. 

Thornton took a stride on each leg as he skated gingerly to the bench, and did not return to the game. 

The 38-year-old underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee this summer. He missed the final three games of the regular season last year, but returned to play in San Jose's final four postseason games in a first round, six-game loss to the Edmonton Oilers. 

Thornton is second on the Sharks with 36 points (13 goals, 23 assists), and has scored nine points in his last seven games. He is second among forwards in average ice time, and is playing 18:20 per night in his 20th NHL season. 

Sharks can't chase down Jets in topsy-turvy OT loss

Sharks can't chase down Jets in topsy-turvy OT loss


SAN JOSE -- Bryan Little scored his second goal of the game 18 seconds into overtime, lifting the Winnipeg Jets to a 5-4 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night.

Joel Armia also scored twice and Mathieu Perreault had one goal to help the Jets win their third straight and fifth in the last seven. Connor Hellebuyck finished with 29 saves.

Joe PavelskiLogan CoutureChris Tierney and Timo Meier scored for San Jose, which lost for the second time in seven games. Aaron Dell had 18 saves.

Armia's second goal put the Jets ahead 4-3 with 8:22 remaining to play but Meier responded less than four minutes later for the Sharks. Marc-Edouard Vlasic's shot was blocked by Dustin Byfuglien, and Meier won the battle to the puck and slipped it past Hellebuyck.

The Jets, who scored a goal apiece in each of its last four games, found the net three times in the first 12 minutes.

Perreault set the tone, scoring 18 seconds into the game with an assist from Nikolaj Ehlers.

Andrew Copp set up Armia's first goal with a terrific pass from the blue line less than five minutes into the game.

Little scored on a power play, redirecting Tyler Myers shot past Dell to make it 3-0 with just over just over eight minutes left in the opening period.

A heads up play from Pavelski put the Sharks on the scoreboard in the final minute of the first. Brenden Dillon's shot bounced hard off Hellebuyck's pads and Pavelski got to the rebound and fired in from 20 feet away.

The Sharks tied the score with two goals within a four-minute stretch of the second period.

Couture was trying to pass the puck midway through the period and flared on it. The puck floated between a pair of Jets' defenders as Couture spun around 360 degrees and found it sitting on open ice. He struck quickly, before the puck was located by anyone else.

Tierney's power-play goal came after a sharp left-to-right pass across the ice by Joe Thornton.

NOTES: The Jets improved to 23-1-4 when scoring first and 17-1-1 when leading after the first period. ... Tierney recorded his career-high 12th goal of the season. ... Perreault has three goals in his last four games. ... Pavelski has nine points in his last eight games. ... Thornton has nine points in his last seven games.


Jets: At the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday.

Sharks: Host the New York Rangers on Thursday.