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1st period outburst vaults Sharks
SJ jumps Blues early, then coasts
3/14/08 - by Mike Lee

In a tale of two franchises headed in very opposite directions, the San Jose Sharks overpowered the St Louis Blues at HP Pavilion on Friday night, in a 1st period knockout. The Sharks scored on the first shift of the game, then tacked on another three goals in the opening period, then coasted to a 4-1 win, their 11th straight. The Blues lost for the 11th time in their last 12 games. Milan Michalek and Brian Campbell each had a goal and an assist in the white washing.

Michalek scored just 1:10 into the game, after a strong forecheck kept the puck in the St Louis zone. After Joe Thornton wound the puck up the right wing boards, Campbell grabbed the puck then sent it to a cutting Michalek from the right point. The Sharks forward broke toward the net, took Campbell's pass, then chipped a shot over Blues goaltender Hannu Toivonen.

A 9 minute lull preceded a one of the biggest scoring outbursts by the Sharks this season. Jeremy Roenick would kick off a three minutes span that netted 3 more goals of the Sharks at the midpoint of the opening period.

With Andy MacDonald in the penalty box, the Roenick advanced the puck into the Blues zone before kicking it back out to Craig Rivet on the right point. Rivet moved the puck over to Devin Setoguchi, who pumped a shot on goal just as MacDonald was stepping back onto the ice. Roenick got a stick on Setoguchi's shot, deflecting it past Toivonen.

Campbell would put the Sharks up 3-0 less than 2 minutes later on a nifty feed from Thornton. Michalek raced up the left wing boards with the ice, before dropping it to a trailing Thornton near the left dot. Thornton skated toward the end boards then caught Campbell breaking toward the net on the opposite wing with a pass through the slot. All Campbell had to do was tap in the pass for his 7th goal of the season.

The nightmare period continued for St Louis a minute later when Erik Johnson hauled down Sharks captain Patrick Marleau on a breakaway. Marleau would convert on the ensuing penalty shot with a wrister that sailed over Haivonen's right shoulder.

A frustrated Jamal Mayers tried sending a message by engaging Craig Rivet in a fight late in the period, but all it earned the Blues forward was an extended stay in the penalty box for instigating the fight.

The 4-goal deficit would be insurmountable for St Louis, who had scored one goal in 3 games against San Jose this season.

The only blemish on the Sharks evening was a 2nd period Blues power play goal by David Backes. Campbell was sent off right before the end of the 1st period, carrying over 1:48 of power play time for St Louis. Paul Kariya initiated the sequence by throwing a shot on net from the high slot that hit Evgeni Nabokov in the chest. The puck bounced off the Sharks netminder, then floated just outside the right post. Backes swatted the floating puck into a wide open net.

Every time the Blues tried mounting an attack the faster Sharks move the puck out of their own zone.

Three 3rd period penalties by the Blues zapped any chance of a comeback.

Game Notes:

Joe Thornton grabbed the NHL assist lead with his 63rd and 64th of the season.



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Scoring
1 2 3 T
STL 0 1 0 1
SJ 4 0 0 4
1st period - 1, SJ, Michalek 23 (Campbell, Thornton), 1:10. 2, SJ, Roenick 11 (Setoguchi, Rivet), 10:22. 3, SJ, Campbell 7 (Thornton, Michalek), 12:10. 4, SJ, Marleau 15 (penalty shot), 13:25.
2nd period - 5, STL, Backes 11 (Kariya, Johnson), 0:54, (pp).
3rd period - None.
Penalties
1st period - McDonald, STL (high sticking), 8:21; Mayers, STL (fighting major), 15:01; Mayers, STL (10 min misconduct), 15:01; Mayers, STL (instigator), 15:01; Rivet, SJ (fighting major), 15:01; Campbell, SJ (tripping), 19:48.
2nd period - Backes, STL (roughing), 2:26; Rivet, SJ (roughing), 2:26; Goc, SJ (delay of game - puck over glass), 16:48; Brewer, STL (hooking), 18:54.
3rd period - Boyes, STL (holding), 7:44; Perron, STL (roughing), 12:43; Ehrhoff, SJ (roughing), 12:43; Johnson, STL (high sticking), 14:29.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
STL - Toivonen 27 23
SJ - Nabokov 21 20
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
STL 8 9 4 21
SJ 14 8 5 27
Power Play Conversion
STL 1 of 2
SJ 0 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Joe Thornton
Brian Campbell
Jeremy Roenick
Attendence
17,496
Officials
Referees: Kowal, Meier. Linesmen: Seitz, Sharrers.

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