Blues complete season sweep of Sharks with 3-1 win
Sunday, March 4, 2012
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Andy McDonald and Kevin Shattenkirk scored power-play goals and the St. Louis Blues capped a four-game season sweep of the San Jose Sharks with a 3-1 victory Saturday night.
T.J. Oshie also scored and Jaroslav Halak made 18 saves for the Blues, who outscored the Sharks 10-1 over the final 10 periods played between the teams this season.
Torrey Mitchell scored the lone goal for the Sharks, who have lost nine of their last 12 games to fall out of first place in the Pacific Division.
The Blues have completely dominated the season series against the Sharks since scoring three third-period goals in the first meeting to erase a 2-1 deficit. St. Louis then shut out San Jose in two games at home, including one that started this recent skid by the Sharks, and controlled the play this game to extend its longest winning streak against San Jose since winning five straight in 2003.
The Sharks struggled to get the puck on net, much less score. The team that leads the NHL in shots on goal with 34.5 per game this season generated just 10 in the opening 40 minutes, including three in a listless second period. San Jose had one shot on three power plays for the game.
The Blues got their second power-play goal of the game when Shattenkirk scored on a rebound after a scramble in front of Antti Niemi to make it 3-1. St. Louis then throttled the Sharks after that, giving them no good scoring chances on two power plays.
Captain Joe Thornton negated the first man advantage when he committed a hold in the offensive zone and the Sharks failed to convert on their second, with the fans booing as San Jose struggled to connect even on simple passes.
San Jose got no shots on its only power play in the third period as the Blues coasted to the win, completing a 5-1 road trip that has them tied with Detroit for second place in the Western Conference with 89 points.
The Sharks got a big boost with the return to the lineup of All-Star forward Logan Couture and bruising defenseman Douglas Murray. Couture had missed the past two games with a lower-body injury, while Murray had missed eight games after being hit in the throat by a puck.
But that emotional lift didn’t help on the scoreboard as St. Louis took advantage of a fortuitous bounce to take the early lead. After Halak stopped Patrick Marleau on a short-handed breakaway, the Blues attempted to dump the puck behind the San Jose net. Niemi went to play the puck but it caromed off the boards to McDonald, who was all alone in front of the net for the easy tap-in goal.
The Sharks tied it late in the period when Mitchell threw a puck on net from the side boards that trickled past Halak for his first goal in 20 games. That ended a scoring drought of 134:07 for the Sharks, who were shutout Thursday by Buffalo’s Ryan Miller.
The good feeling lasted only 20 seconds before Oshie tipped Carlo Colaiacovo’s point shot past Niemi to give the Blues a 2-1 lead after one.
Notes: Sharks coach Todd McLellan missed his third straight game with concussion symptoms after being hit in the head by a stick last Sunday in Minnesota. ... The Blues extended their streak of consecutive penalty kills to 27. ... San Jose had gone 164:11 without a goal against St. Louis after being shut out the previous two meetings. ... The three shots in the second period for the Sharks were tied for their second fewest in any period this season.
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