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The San Jose Sharks have had a less-than-stellar start to the season. Returning home could help them change that.
San Jose plays its opener at HP Pavilion on Thursday night as it goes for its 10th straight home victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Sharks (1-2-0), beginning a three-game homestand, have allowed 12 goals on the season.
"We're not going to win giving up six goals," coach Todd McLellan said following Tuesday's 6-4 loss to Los Angeles. "We're not going to win games with goaltending like that. We're not going to win games looking for players (to perform) for the first half of the night. It was great to see us battle back (from a 4-0 deficit) ... but obviously there's some areas that we have to work on."
San Jose tied the game on Dany Heatley's goal at 14:24 of the third period, but gave up the go-ahead goal 26 seconds later.
Evgeni Nabokov, second in the NHL last season with 41 wins, is 1-1-0 with a 3.95 goals-against average in 2009-10. He was pulled in the second period Tuesday after allowing four goals on 20 shots.
Nabokov, though, is 16-4-2 with a 1.75 goals-against average in 23 starts against the Blue Jackets. He won both of his home starts against Columbus last season, posting a 2.00 GAA.
San Jose, a league-best 32-5-4 at home in 2008-09, is 15-0-1 versus the Blue Jackets at HP Pavilion. The Sharks have taken nine straight against Columbus at home since a 3-2 overtime loss Jan. 8, 2004.
As much as San Jose has struggled defensively, the addition of the high-scoring Heatley is paying dividends for last season's Presidents' Trophy winners.
Acquired from Ottawa in the offseason, Heatley also had two assists Tuesday and has five points on the season.
Joe Thornton recorded three assists against the Kings and set up Heatley's goal on the power play.
"Hopefully, Joe (Thornton) and I can push each other," Heatley told the Sharks' official Web site. "If you want to cast us in roles, he's obviously one of the best passers in the world and I like to shoot the puck a lot. Should work, but you got to just let it happen."
Columbus will be looking to build on the first 2-0-0 start in franchise history.
The Blue Jackets opened their three-game western swing with a 5-3 win over Vancouver on Monday. After Columbus' Antoine Vermette tied the game at 1 with 42 seconds left in the first period, the Blue Jackets scored three times in the opening 5:51 of the second to build a 4-1 lead.
"We had tons of chances, we were moving it, and we were getting some good shots off," captain Rick Nash said after recording three assists.
Defenseman Rostislav Klesla, who signed a four-year contract extension prior to scoring the winner in Saturday's 2-1 victory over Minnesota, had a goal for the second straight game and added an assist.
Columbus' Steve Mason, the Calder Trophy winner as the league's top rookie last season, has a 2.00 GAA in 2009-10.
"We're starting off on the right foot for myself and for the team as a whole," Mason told the league's official Web site. "We're just happy with the 2-0 start."
Mason was 1-1-0 with a 1.97 GAA against San Jose in 2008-09.
Columbus right wing Jared Boll is questionable for Thursday after getting slammed head-first into the boards and leaving Monday's game in the first period.
San Jose is 22-7-3 all-time versus Columbus.