The San Jose Sharks will complete their third five-game road trip of the season Sunday when they face the Columbus Blue Jackets in the teams’ first meeting.
For the Sharks’ sake, they would like to get back to scoring goals.
In Friday’s 1-0 loss to the New York Rangers, the Sharks — who had won three straight matches to open the road trip — failed to beat goalie Igor Shesterkin, who kept a spotless record for 45:06 of the game.
However, even after Shesterkin was injured early in the third period after putting 19 shots on him, the Sharks could not solve replacement Alexandar Georgiev, who played in just four games in November.
The game marked the Sharks’ sixth straight loss to the Metropolitan Division club, including three straight and six of their last seven on New York’s ice.
Despite the three-game triumphant streak and winning five times in its past six contests, San Jose was left facing a nagging problem that has crept up in its games often this season — scoring goals.
In the Sharks’ 24 games thus far, the Pacific Division side has scored two or fewer goals on 14 occasions, including nine of 12 games since Nov. 11 in Winnipeg.
With the combined blanking by Shesterkin and Georgiev, San Jose has suffered three shutouts overall, and its 2.58 goals per game ranks 26th out of 32 teams.
“It’s just that offensive stuff, that extra inch to get in front of the net, if we can get that, we’re going to have success,” said forward Timo Meier.
With backstop James Reimer under the weather, Adin Hill made his second straight start.
In those two outings, Hill has stopped 50 of the 52 shots he has encountered.
“He was our best player tonight, playing big in the net,” said Sharks coach Bob Boughner. “We just couldn’t get the offense going.”
Like the Sharks, Columbus has had problems scoring goals.
The Blue Jackets lost 3-1 against the Capitals in Washington, D.C., on Saturday night and were held scoreless until Eric Robinson netted a goal 6:28 into the final period.
During their current four-game losing streak, the Blue Jackets have scored just six times while allowing the opposition 18 goals, including four to the Predators’ Filip Forsberg in Tuesday’s 6-0 defeat in Nashville.
Despite losing to the Capitals and watching Alex Ovechkin continue to score goals and chase down history, Columbus has a reason to be excited about its new goaltender.
Netminder Daniil Tarasov made his NHL debut Thursday in Columbus’ 3-2 loss to the Stars in Dallas.
Tarasov, 22, stopped 34 of the 37 shots he faced in place of Joonas Korpisalo, who is on the IR after multiple negative COVID-19 tests.
“He’s doing a little better,” Columbus coach Brad Larsen said.
Tarasov’s day was hectic.
He flew in to Dallas in the early afternoon, took a brief nap and went about the business of goaltending against the Stars — who scored on him just 68 seconds into the game.
“Guys just told me, ‘Hey, keep going,'” said the 6-foot-6 Tarasov, who is from Novokuznetsk, Russia. “I was just a little nervous.”
In his two starts, he has allowed five goals on the 68 shots he has faced.
Elvis Merzlikins gets the nod Sunday against San Jose to complete the back-to-back set.
–Field Level Media