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No offensive support for Niemi
Sharks netminder loses 4th straight
11/4/10 - By Mike Lee -

Antti Niemi held an opponent to two goals for the first time since his opening day start against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Stockholm on Thursday night in St Louis. Unfortunately, his teammates failed to put anything past Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak, extending their road scoreless streak to 6 periods. Halak stopped 25 shots to earn his 3rd shutout of the year, extending the Blues home win streak to a perfect 6-for-6 this season.

For the Sharks it was another loss with Niemi in net. Making his sixth start of the season, the netminder wasn't terrible, but he was no match for Halak who kept his net clear all night long.

San Jose continued their dangerous trend of sending a conga line of players to the penalty box. While it didn't result in any St Louis goals, it did prevent them from mounting any sustained pressure on Halak. After their penalty parade in Minnesota on Tuesday, the Sharks didn't seem inclined to overcome the evil of their ways.

Considering the way Halak has played this season, any trip to the penalty box seems ill advised. Halak's teammates made things worse for the Sharks by applying a steady dose of hustle that had the Sharks on their heels throughout the opening period.

Three minor penalties in that opening period kept the Sharks from establishing any presence in front of the Blues goal. One of those penalties was a Niklas Wallin boarding infraction, one of three the Sharks would take during the contest.

San Jose managed to kill off those 1st period penalties, but they wouldn't be able to stop the Blues from taking a 1-0 lead into the 1st intermission.

Matt D'Agostini would give the Blues the early lead on a shot from the right corner that crossed up Niemi. The play started with a lofting dump in by Baret Jackman from the Blues end of the ice. D'Agostini raced up the right wing, beating Kent Huskins to the puck before sending the shot Niemi's way.

After spending 12 seasons playing for the Blues, Jamal Mayers was especially motivated to beat his former team. He would drop the gloves with Brad Winchester on the ensuing faceoff in an attempt to light a fire under his teammates.

The penalty issue went from bad to worse in the 2nd period. Joe Thornton was the catalyst for the Sharks misfortunes in the period. First he took the Sharks second boarding penalty of the game at 3:22 of the period, then moments after existing the penalty box after that penalty expired he found himself in position to lay a hit on Blues winger David Perron.

Perron never saw Thornton exit the penalty box and with his head turned to receive a pass, he wasn't prepared for the open-ice hit that would send him sprawling. As Perron lay face-down on the ice, Thornton was given a major penalty for an illegal check to the head and a game misconduct.

With Thornton tossed, the Sharks seemed lifeless.

Perron was no worse for the wear. That was validated when the forward scored the Blues second goal of the game ten minutes later. The Blues would move the puck into the Sharks zone by TJ Oshie who would try throwing a shot on net. The puck hit Perron in the shoulder, deflecting the puck to the ice, where the Blues forward would backhand a shot past Niemi for the 2-0 lead.

That was all the scoring St Louis would need.

The Sharks had no answers for Halak. They would outshoot St Louis 11-7 in the 3rd period, but nothing came close to cracking the score sheet.



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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 0 0 0 0
STL 1 1 0 2
1st period - 1, STL, D'Agostini 5 (Jackman, Pietrangelo), 17:41.
2nd period - 2, STL, Perron 5 (Oshie, Pietrangelo), 14:12.
3rd period - None.
Penalties
1st period - Setoguchi, SJ (hooking), 4:41; Wallin, SJ (boarding), 9:39; Setoguchi, SJ (interference), 12:10; D'Agostini, STL (holding the stick), 15:17; Mayers, SJ (fighting major), 17:42; Winchester, STL (fighting major), 17:42; Boyle, SJ (kneeing), 18:41.
2nd period - Thornton, SJ (boarding), 3:22; McLaren, SJ (roughing), 3:22; Brewer, STL (roughing), 3:22; Thornton, SJ (illegal check to head major), 5:29; Thornton, SJ (game misconduct), 5:29; Couture, SJ (fighting major), 5:29; Pietrangelo, STL (fighting major), 5:29; Heatley, SJ (boarding), 9:09; Vlasic, SJ (roughing), 10:38; Perron, STL (roughing), 10:38; Crombeen, STL (tripping), 18:42.
3rd period - None.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Niemi 29 27
STL - Halak 25 25
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 9 5 11 25
STL 8 14 7 29
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 3
STL 0 of 7
3 Stars of the Game
Jaroslav Halak
David Perron
David Backes
Attendence
19,150
Officials
Referees: O'Rourke, Pochmara. Linesmen: Brisebois, Wheler.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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