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Blues beat lifeless Sharks
No jump or urgency in 4-2 home loss
10/15/11 - By Mike Lee -


All the lessons the Sharks learned on Friday night's loss to the Anaheim Ducks went ignored and it cost San Jose against the perennial cellar-dwelling St Louis Blues on Saturday night. The Blues took advantage of a lethargic San Jose lineup by putting three 3rd period goals past goaltender Thomas Greiss to win 4-2 at HP Pavilion.

The vaunted defense that was supposed to be the cornerstone of San Jose's lineup gave up bad goals, and the offense failed to generate much of anything in a sputtering performance that looked just plain awful.

The Sharks turned in a solid twenty minutes in a 2nd period that resulted in a go-ahead goal, but that was bookended by two terrible periods of hockey. The opening period was an uninspired effort that was wrought with training camp type mistakes, and the final period lacked the urgency necessary to beat teams that are gunning for you.

Everything on the ice was a reminder of last season's poor start.

Sloppy passing cost the Sharks early. Defenseman Jason Demers made a half-hearted pass from the left corner that was intercepted by Matt D'Agostini in the high slot. D'Agostini skated right up the gut and put a backhand chance past Thomas Greiss 2:37 into the game.

Sharks head coach Todd McLellan used his timeout with 7:32 to play in the period in an attempt to wake his team up. They would respond with a pair of penalties that dug a little deeper hole for the home team, but a solid penalty kill diffused both threats.

Joe Thornton forced David Backes into taking an interference penalty with just under 3 minutes to play in the period, opening the door for the offense to get on track. The power play unit cashed in when Michael Handzus lifted a backhand chance from the top of the crease past Blues goaltender Brian Elliott. It was Handzus' second goal on home ice in as many games.

More importantly, it got the Sharks on track after a sloppy opening 20 minutes.

Things began to pick up for San Jose in the 2nd period. Joe Pavelski set the tone by creating a quality scoring chance early in the period after taking a feed in the slot. The Sharks centerman was forced to pivot as he squared to the net, but he got the puck on net, where it was stopped by Elliott.

Brent Burns provided some offensive punch midway through the middle period, wristing a puck that was deflected by Blues forward T.J. Oshie past Elliott. Burns first goal as a Shark came from the right point and gave the Sharks the 2-1 lead. The deflection fooled Elliott as it floated over his right shoulder. The Blues netminder tried to reach back and grab the puck as it trickled over the goal line, but was too late.

All that 2nd period work went out the door early in the 3rd period when former Sharks defenseman Kent Huskins squeezed a puck between two San Jose defenders, clanking a shot off the right post for the equalizer. Andrew Desjardins was parked in front of Greiss, screening his goaltender from see the shot that came from the left wing boards.

St Louis would grab the lead less than 5 minutes later after Alex Steen finished off a 3-on-2 break. Greiss overplayed Kevin Shattenkirk in the middle of the ice, then was late to get over to his right to stop Steen's uncontested shot from the left wing.

Chris Stewart tripped Burns to put the Sharks on the power play for only the second time in the game. Dan Boyle appeared to have Elliott caught out of position, but took a split second too long to settle the puck before sending a shot on net. Elliott used the extra moment to get setup and snare Boyle's 15-foot shot with a wave of the glove hand.

San Jose could do nothing to put any more pressure on Elliott, and would surrender an empty-net goal to David Backes late to ice the game.

Game Notes:

Defenseman Jim Vandermeer made his Sharks debut, serving as San Jose's 7th defenseman.




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Scoring
1 2 3 T
STL 1 0 3 4
SJ 1 1 0 2
1st period - 1, STL, D'Agostini 2 (unassisted), 2:37. 2, SJ, Handzus 2 (Clowe, Demers), 18:44, (pp).
2nd period - 3, SJ, Burns 1 (Clowe, Mitchell), 11:18.
3rd period - 4, STL, Huskins 1 (unassisted), 4:33. 5, STL, Steen 2 (Shattenkirk, Arnott), 9:18. 6, STL, Backes 1 (Lagenbrunner, Sobotka), 19:33, (en).
Penalties
1st period - Jackman, STL (elbowing), 1:56; Clowe, SJ (roughing), 1:56; A. Murray, SJ (hooking), 8:32; Winchester, SJ (holding the stick), 13:16; Backes, STL (interference), 17:04.
2nd period - Handzus, SJ (delay of game - puck over glass), 16:01.
3rd period - Stewart, STL (tripping), 13:51.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
STL - Elliott 36 34
SJ - Greiss 19 16
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
STL 4 8 8 20
SJ 10 13 13 36
Power Play Conversion
STL 0 of 3
SJ 1 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Brian Elliott
Ryane Clowe
Kent Huskins
Attendence
17,562
Officials
Referees: LaRue, Dwyer . Linesmen: McElman, Panich.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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