Kevin Labanc scored the go-ahead goal that ended up being the game-winner and added an assist to pace the San Jose Sharks to a 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.
Labanc, given a promotion in ice time with Joe Thornton sidelined due to a knee injury, broke a 1-1 deadlock midway through the affair when he one-timed a shot from the slot on a 5-on-3 power play. It’s San Jose’s first victory in four tries since Thornton was hurt on Jan. 23.
Goalie Martin Jones made 28 saves for the Sharks, who snapped a four-game losing skid and sit second in the Pacific Division.
Logan Couture opened the scoring for San Jose with an early power-play goal. With burly defenseman Brent Burns setting the screen in front of Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, Couture wristed a long point shot that made its way just inside the post for his 22nd goal of the season.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic provided the insurance tally early in the final frame. Vlasic was well up ice when he stripped the puck from Blue Jackets defender David Savard at the Columbus blue line to get a partial breakaway and lifted a backhand past Bobrovsky.
The Sharks had some tense moments in the third period when Couture left the game after a puck hit him in the mouth, but he returned to action in the final minutes.
Boone Jenner, who had the initials of his grandmother on his stick after she died this week and was laid to rest on Thursday, scored the lone goal for the hosts, a top-corner blast while racing down the wing.
Bobrovsky stopped 25 shots for the Blue Jackets, who are in a 2-4-1 skid and holding onto a wild-card position in the Eastern Conference while a bevy of teams are nipping at their heels.
--Field Level Media