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Time to tinker
Goal-less streak continues
2/14/07 - by Mike Lee

Does anyone smell smoke? It' starting to smell a lot like Rome under Nero's reign. The difference between Nero and the Sharks is that Nero was fiddling. The Sharks aren't. Sharks GM Doug Wilson did make a minor move on Friday, re-acquiring the rights to forward Alexander Korolyuk from New Jersey, but the Sharks need more than a forward who's been wallowing in Russia for the past three years to resuscitate a flaccid offense.

The bigger issue is that the offense that hasn't scored a goal in three games is the secondary issue for the Sharks right now. After falling 3-0 to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night, the alarms are finally starting to go off.

The defense has not been able to stop marginal teams, let alone good ones. The goaltending has been sub-par.

The failures on offense haven't been as magnified as the defense, but Friday night's debacle exposed a team that is lost when one of its big guns goes down. Captain Patrick Marleau was scratched because of an upper-body injury.

Rather than grasp the opportunity, the underlings sit back and wait for players like Joe Thornton to get the job done. If an opposing team know that fringe players aren't going to step up, then focusing on guys like Thornton don't provide the room for the Sharks marquee player to work his magic.

The Sharks were simply outworked on Friday night. San Jose has traditionally used its big February road trip to come together as a team. Four games into the opportunity, the Sharks look as disjointed as ever.

Columbus outworked the Sharks for three periods and they were rewarded for it. Blue Jackets goaltender Frederik Norrena stopped 29 shots for this 3rd shutout of the season, holding a one-goal lead entering the 3rd period.

Gilbert Brule and Sergei Federov capped the inevitable with goals six minutes apart in the final frame to seal the deal.

Defensive lapses, a continuing theme on this 8-game road trip continue to haunt the Sharks. Scott Hannan and Kyle McLaren are the only two defenseman with more than two-years of solid experience on the blueline, and the youth project is beginning to be exploited by opposing teams.

Defense is the position Wilson must address before the February 27th trade deadline.

Korolyuk is expected to be in San Jose by Sunday to take a physical, then could join the Sharks in Washington on Wednesday, where the Sharks will face off against the Capitals.

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1 2 3 T
SJ 0 0 0 0
CBJ 1 0 2 3
1st period - 1, CBJ, Modin 14 (Brule), 4:56.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 2, CBJ, Brule 5 (Federov, Modin), 6:02. 3, CBJ, Federov 15 (Zherdev, Vyborny), 12:05, (pp).
1st period - Cheechoo, SJ (high sticking), 8:38; Malhotra, CBJ (tripping), 19:00.
2nd period - Ehrhoff, SJ (roughing), 6:22; Nash, CBJ (holding the stick), 6:22; Nash, CBJ (roughing - double minor), 6:22; Davison, SJ (roughing), 12:41; McLaren, SJ (roughing), 12:41; Chimera, SCJ (roughing), 12:41; Foote, CBJ (delay of game - puck over glass), 18:50.
3rd period - Ehrhoff, SJ (hooking), 10:19; Thornton, SJ (delay of game - puck over glass), 11:40.
  Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 19 16
CBJ - Norrena2929
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 9 10 10 29
CBJ 5 6 8 19
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 4
CBJ 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Frederik Norrena
Frederik Modin
Gilbert Brule
Referees: Marc Joannette, Justin StPierre. Linesmen: Don Henderson, Tim Nowak.

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