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SJ starts break early
Offense sputters in 1-0 loss
1/20/07 - by Mike Lee

The St Louis Blues have been one of the hottest teams in the league as of late. They also happen to be San Jose's last opponent before a week's vacation during the All Star break for many of the Sharks. That added up to a 1-0 loss for the host Sharks on Saturday night, as Manny Legace stopped all 31 shots he faced to snap the Sharks 4 game winning streak.

St Louis leveraged a lucky bounce to generate all the offense they would need, as hard luck Sharks goaltender, Evgeni Nabokov fell for the 10th time this season. Bill Guerin turned a trip around the Sharks net into the game's lone goal with what originated as a centering attempt, that turned into a deflection that slipped past Nabokov in the 2nd period.

San Jose had out-shot the Blues 13-6 in the opening period, but never really generated any serious scoring chances. They would throw another 11 shots Legace's way in the middle period only to be denied again.

Milan Michalek missed on a decent chance on a one-timer midway through the 2nd period that sailed wide right of the Blues goal.

With the shutout, the Sharks also failed to score a power play goal for the second consecutive game. That broke a stretch of 7 games with a goal on the man advantage. Part of the issue was that referees Marc Jonnette and Justin St Pierre weren't calling any penalties. The 2nd period was expedited with zero infractions on either team. There were only 7 penalties called all night.

The Sharks were held to 7 shots in the final period. Legace can thank his defense, which stood up the Sharks all night, blocking 28 shots on the evening.

There was none bigger than Keith Tkachuk's sliding kick save in the final minute of regulation, when he stepped in front of a scoring attempt by Patrick Marleau. Legace was down on his knees from a previous save, leaving the right side of the goal wide open. Tkachuk slid over from outside the right post to prevent Marleau's quick poke from getting passed the goal line.

Jonathan Cheechoo may have missed the best chance for the Sharks to score a minute earlier, but Legace snuffed out the 2-on-1 chance.

The win was the Blues third in three games, giving them a sweep of the three California teams.

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1 2 3 T
STL 0 1 0 1
SJ 0 0 0 0
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, STL, Guerin 20 (Rucinsky), 18:36.
3rd period - None.
1st period - Gorges, SJ (slashing), 8:27; McClement, STL (hooking), 15:00; Weight, STL (hooking), 17:19.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - Brewer, STL (holding), 7:24; Smith, SJ (slashing), 12:45; Dvorak, STL (tripping), 13:29; Vlasic, SJ (interference), 13:29.
  Shots Saves
STL - Legace 31 31
SJ - Nabokov 13 12
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
STL 6 5 2 13
SJ 13 11 7 31
Power Play Conversion
STL 0 of 2
SJ 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Manny Legace
Bill Guerin
Eric Brewer
Referees: Marc Joannette, Justin StPierre. Linesmen: Shane Heyer, Vaughan Rody.

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