Jackets aim to build momentum against Sharks

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(SportsNetwork.com) - The Columbus Blue Jackets will try to register consecutive victories for the first time since opening the season 2-0 when they host the San Jose Sharks in Saturday's battle at Nationwide Arena.

The Blue Jackets halted a nine-game slide Friday in Philadelphia, as James Wisniewski and Nick Foligno each scored two goals to give Columbus a much-needed 4-3 victory.

The game also marked Scott Hartnell's return to Philadelphia. Hartnell spent seven seasons in Philadelphia before getting shipped to Columbus in June for fellow forward R. J. Umberger and a fourth-round draft pick.

The crowd gave Hartnell, who ended with six shots, a standing ovation midway through the first period when the Flyers played a video tribute of his highlights in a Philadelphia uniform.

"We got a win -- a much needed win," said Hartnell. "It was real big for our hockey club."

Curtis McElhinney stopped 24-of-27 shots for the Blue Jackets, who will get No. 1 goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky back between the pipes tonight. Bobrovsky was activated from injured reserve Friday and served as the backup to McElhinney in Philadelphia. He hasn't played since injuring his finger on Oct. 26 against Los Angeles.

The 2013 Vezina Trophy winner is 3-1-2 with a 2.78 goals against average in six career outings versus the Sharks.

The good news for the Jackets is one of their five wins this season did come against the Sharks, as Columbus notched a 5-4 regulation win in San Jose on Oct. 23. The Blue Jackets have claimed five of the past seven encounters in this series and the clubs have split the last six meetings in Ohio.

While Columbus aims to build some momentum on Saturday, the Sharks also will try to win consecutive games for the first time this month. San Jose, which opened the season with three straight wins, hasn't put together two victories in a row since beating Anaheim and Colorado on Oct. 26 and 28.

The Sharks halted a two-game slide and improved to 2-2-0 on a seven-game road trip with Thursday's 2-1 victory against Tampa Bay. Antti Niemi held down the high-scoring Lightning with 32 saves, while Tyler Kennedy and Joe Thornton provided goals for the Sharks.

San Jose fired 17 shots at net in the opening period without scoring a goal, but the Sharks kept the pressure on and eventually grabbed a 1-0 lead on Thornton's tally at 5:23 of the second period. Kennedy notched his first marker of the season just over five minutes later.

"It was a complete team effort," said Sharks center Tommy Wingels.

Niemi had to be at his best in the third period, when the Lighting turned the tables and outshot San Jose by a 16-8 margin. Tampa's only goal came midway through the third when Steven Stamkos redirected an Andrej Sustr shot past Niemi.

With goaltender Alex Stalock on injured reserve due to a knee injury and the Sharks due to play on back-to-back days this weekend, Troy Grosenick could make his NHL debut tonight or in Sunday's meeting with Carolina.

Niemi is 5-4-0 with a 3.28 goals against average in his career against Columbus.