Sharks-Blue Jackets Preview

BY foxsports • October 14, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- In the wake of a 6-3 defeat in their home opener against the Boston Bruins on Thursday, Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella will keep his lineup and lines intact in order to instill some confidence in the second-youngest team in the NHL when they host the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.

Unlike in the past, Tortorella doesn't want to "get the blender out" if things aren't going well. He said he would like to give them a chance to develop some chemistry and gel.

Tortorella told the Blue Jackets' website that one of the keys is to continue to encourage his players to make plays, saying he felt as though they were tentative and didn't make the plays that were available in the opener.

The team will be without the services of defenseman Ryan Murray, out of the lineup with an undisclosed injury after blocking a shot in Thursday night's loss. This will be the first game Murray has missed after playing 85 consecutive games.

Stepping in for the injured Murray is defenseman Dalton Prout, who was a healthy scratch for the home opener and the final two exhibition games.

Ahead of Saturday night's matchup against the Sharks, forward Brandon Dubinsky said, "My line, I've got to play better, I've got to make plays. I'm certainly disappointed with the outcome (vs. Boston). I prepared the right way and felt good coming to the game. I've got to work on my game and do better for the team."

Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky needs a major bounce-back game after posting a 5.17 goals-against average and an .861 save percentage against the Bruins on Thursday.

San Jose comes into Columbus with a 1-0-0 record after defeating the Los Angeles Kings in its home opener on Wednesday night, 2-1.

The nucleus of the Sharks team is largely intact from last season, but their new second line of Logan Couture, Mikkel Boedker and Joonas Donskoi was the team's best on Wednesday night. Couture and Donskoi also assisted on Brent Burns' game-winning goal against the Kings.

Despite having to travel across the country for their second game, the Sharks should be a well-rested team. No forward played more than Tomas Hertl's 17:47, showing the even distribution of ice time.

On the blue line, offseason free agent signing David Schlemko made his new coach happy with his play in his debut for the Sharks.

"I thought Schlemko was fantastic was tonight," head coach Peter DeBoer told csnbayarea.com. "That pair with (Brenden) Dillon and him looked really good."

The 29-year-old Schlemko had one shot, a pair of hits and a blocked shot on Wednesday and is expected to play an important role on this San Jose team that expects to contend for the Stanley Cup.

With DeBoer eschewing traditional forward lines, he feels confident in matching any of his four lines against the top lines of his opponents on a nightly basis.

"As a staff," DeBoer said to csnbayarea.com, "we came in and we want to start that way and give everyone an opportunity (to play). I think we all realize that we play our best when we're not chasing matchups or trying to hide guys."

Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson announced Friday that the club has recalled forward Ryan Carpenter from the San Jose Barracuda (AHL), while forward Timo Meier has been assigned to the Barracuda.



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