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Sharks score twice on power plays, beat Blue Jackets 3-1
By MITCH STACY
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) The San Jose Sharks took advantage of its power plays and a Columbus scoring slump to get a needed win.
The Sharks' first two goals came on power plays, with Labanc getting a wide-open look at the net with a 5-on-3 advantage in the second period. Marc-Edouard Vlasic also scored for San Jose.
"The power play has been the key for us for the last 2 1/2 months," San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said. "The one thing we have is a lot of options there. We have a lot of guys who are comfortable on the power play, and they're playing with a lot of confidence right now."
Sergei Bobrovsky had 25 saves for the Blue Jackets, who have lost two in a row and five of their last seven. Boone Jenner had the lone goal as Columbus continues to have trouble finding the back of the net. The team has scored two or fewer goals in regulation in 11 of the last 12 games.
"We just have no rhythm offensively," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said.
Couture tallied 5:07 into the game with the Blue Jackets' Matt Calvert in the penalty box for tripping. Couture got his 22nd goal of the season when he snapped a shot from the high slot over the glove of Bobrovsky, who was shielded by 6-foot-5 defenseman Brent Burns.
Jenner tied the score 4:30 into the second period with his fifth goal of the season and first in 13 games when he rifled a shot off the bar from the top of the left circle.
Columbus was victimized on another power play at 10:20 in the second when Labanc scored from 15 feet out while Seth Jones and Nick Foligno served penalties. Tororella was so angry that he benched Foligno, the Blue Jackets' captain, for the rest of the period and much of the third.
Tortorella said the punishment didn't result from just the untimely penalty. "It was a few other things," he said, but declined to discuss it any further.
"It sucks," Foligno said of the benching. "It's the worst feeling in the world. You just want to be out there helping your teammates, especially after a mistake. That's a really hard one to sit there and watch, but that's the standard that (Tortorella) has."
Vlasic got the insurance goal when he beat Bobrovsky with a backhand 6:51 into the final period.
Labanc said the Sharks, trying to emerge from a knot of teams behind Vegas in the Pacific Division, have got to keep capitalizing on the other team's penalties. They are fourth in the NHL on power-play percentage.
"We've just got to keep scoring on those opportunities," Labanc said. "We get those 5-on-3s and 5-on-4s, and that's what is winning us games. So we've just got to be consistent with that."
NOTES: San Jose is 19-0-1 this season when leading after two periods. ... Couture left the game in the third period after getting hit in the face with the puck. ... Sharks F Tomas Hertl played in his 300th NHL game. ... Blue Jackets F Lukas Sedlak played in his 100th game. ... Columbus recalled F Markus Hannikainen from Cleveland (AHL) on Friday, but he was a scratch for the game, along with D Scott Harrington. ... Forwards Jannick Hansen and Marcus Sorensen, and D Tim Heed were scratched for the Sharks.
San Jose: Plays at Carolina on Sunday.
Columbus: Plays at New York Islanders on Saturday in first of five straight games against Metropolitan Division opponents.
More AP NHL hockey at https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey
Follow Mitch Stacy at http://twitter.com/mitchstacy
Updated February 2, 2018
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