|CBJ||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||2|
|SJS||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||5|
Despite a wealth of talent, it would have been understandable if the San Jose Sharks struggled early this season while adjusting to a new coach and a new system.
Todd McLellan's transition to an NHL head coach, however, couldn't be going much better.
The Sharks seek the first 4-0 start in franchise history Tuesday night when they host a team they have dominated - the Columbus Blue Jackets.
San Jose (3-0-0) has looked every bit like one of the league's elite clubs in the first week of the season, winning all three games by a combined 8-2 score. The Sharks followed a season-opening 4-1 victory over Anaheim with a home-and-home sweep of Los Angeles, winning 1-0 on Sunday behind Brian Boucher's 21 saves.
Lukas Kaspar scored his first NHL goal for San Jose, which is 3-0-0 for the third time in the franchise's 18-year history, but has never opened 4-0-0.
"There are so many good teams. If you can invest the points early, it helps," Sharks assistant coach Trent Yawney said. "There are going to be times where you play well and don't get the points."
Boucher was called on to give a rest to workhorse Evgeni Nabokov, who hardly needed one after San Jose had an 82-42 advantage in shots through the first two games.
"Coming in behind (Nabokov) you never know when you're going to get your starts," McLellan said. "Bouche stepped up and he was probably our best player tonight and you need that when you're playing ugly so we're real proud of him."
Nabokov figures to be back in net Tuesday looking to help the Sharks continue their success against the Blue Jackets (1-1-0). San Jose is 20-7-1 all-time against Columbus, including 13-0-1 at home, where it has won the last seven meetings.
Nabokov is 14-4-0 with a 1.64 goals-against average in 19 career starts versus the Blue Jackets.
Right wing Jonathan Cheechoo has started fast for the Sharks, collecting two goals and an assist in the first three games. A 56-goal scorer in 2005-06, Cheechoo needed 11 games last season to get his first three points.
Columbus was unable to build on a season-opening 5-4 overtime victory at Dallas, losing 3-1 at Phoenix on Saturday.
Derrick Brassard scored the lone goal for the Blue Jackets, who couldn't recover after giving up two power-play goals on eight first-period penalties.
"You can't take penalties on the road like we did," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We constantly dug ourselves into a hole. I thought we came alive in the second period, but their third goal was a killer."
A lack of discipline has been a problem for Hitchcock's team in the first two games. Columbus has only had seven power-plays while the opposition has had 14, converting on three.
Star forward Rick Nash has six goals in 17 career games against the Sharks, but has been held without one in the last seven contests.
|Feb 07 '09||SJS 2 at CBJ 3 - OT||C. Backman|
|Dec 17 '08||SJS 1 at CBJ 2 - OT||R. Umberger|
|Dec 04 '08||CBJ 2 at SJS 3||J. Thornton|
|Oct 14 '08||CBJ 2 at SJS 5||P. Marleau|