Blue Jackets hope to halt Sharks' point streak

The Columbus Blue Jackets gave interim head coach Todd Richards a victory in his home debut.

Owner of the fewest points in the league, the Blue Jackets try to avoid a third straight loss to the San Jose Sharks, who have points in seven straight.

Columbus has just 29 points on the season and fired head coach Scott Arniel on Monday. Assistant Todd Richards was promoted to bench boss on an interim basis and lost his debut in Chicago on Tuesday.

The Blue Jackets then opened up a four-game homestand on Friday night with a 4-3 win over the Coyotes. Derick Brassard had the game-winning goal and also logged an assist for his first multi-point game since Dec. 22. Tomas Kubalik and Ryan Russell netted their first career goals and Rick Nash also tallied.

Curtis Sanford made 32 saves in the victory.

Richards won despite forward Jeff Carter (shoulder) and defenseman James Wisniewski (ankle) both being on injured reserve and forward R.J. Umberger having his franchise-record run of 288 straight games played halted due to a concussion.

"We did a lot of good things tonight," Richards said. "I was really happy with the way the guys competed in the third period. The guys dug in and found a way to win a game."

Columbus won for only the third time in 13 games (3-9-1) and moved to 7-11-3 as the hosting team this season.

The Blue Jackets have lost two straight and six of their last nine versus the Sharks, who got goals from Joe Thornton and Ryane Clowe in a 2-1 win at San Jose on Jan. 5.

The Sharks, who have won two of their past three at Columbus, are 5-0-2 in their last seven games overall and posted a 2-0 win at Winnipeg on Thursday. Antti Niemi made 24 saves for his second shutout of the season and 15th of his career.

Logan Couture potted his team-leading 18th goal of the year and Brad Winchester also tallied, while Brent Burns, Andrew Murray and Andrew Desjardins each had an assist.

"We didn't really give up much but when we did Niemi was there to save us," said Couture. "It was a great road win for us."

San Jose, which leads the Pacific Division by three points, has split the first two of a four-game swing.