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Havlat steals Game 1
SJ takes opener with 3-2 win in 2nd overtime
4/12/12 - By Mike Lee -

Most NHL teams will tell you that splitting the first two games of a playoff series on the road is key to overcoming your higher seeded opponent. The Sharks flat out stole Game 1 of their Western Conference Quarter Final series with the St Louis Blues on Thursday night. It took a pair of overtime periods, but San Jose managed to pull out a stunning 3-2 win at Scottrade Center in St Louis. Martin Havlat scored a pair of goals, including the game winner.

Havlat bookended the game's scoring by bagging the first and last goals of the contest. His game winner came at 3:34 of that 2nd overtime, when he one-timed a lateral feed from Ryane Clowe past Jaroslav Halak. Clowe and Logan Couture worked on the forecheck to keep the puck in the Blues zone after St Louis owned the puck possession for most of both overtime periods.

Havlat opened the game's scoring with his 1st of the playoff season after a tight checking opening period.

David Perron incurred the game's first infraction, earning a 2 minute trip to the penalty box for slashing Brent Burns at 4:23 of the 2nd period. San Jose made St Louis pay for the undisciplined penalty, when Havlat redirected a Dan Boyle shot 99 seconds into the penalty. Boyle walked up the slot and fired a shot to Halak's stick side. With Joe Thornton parked in front of the Blues net, Havlat slid in from outside the left post and used his stick blade to redirect the knee-high shot for his 20th career playoff goal.

The tally was the first for San Jose at Scottrade Center this season. They were shut out in two regular season trips to St Louis.

Referee Kelly Sutherland even things up with a ticky-tack interference call on Jason Demers at 9:40, but the Sharks 29th ranked penalty kill held the fort. Patrick Marleau used his speed to offset a big chunk of the penalty by skating the puck up ice on a partial breakaway, then patiently passing it back to his defense.

David Backes was sent off for interference at 14:33, putting San Jose back on the power play. The opportunity almost turned disastrous, when Alex Steen carried the puck up ice and rang a shot off the crossbar.

Sutherland once again felt the need to even up the opportunities on the man advantage by calling T.J. Galiardi for interference shortly after Backes' penalty expired.

Knowing the Blues would come out firing to start the 3rd period, San Jose sat back on their heels and allowed the Blues to tie the game 54 seconds in. Patrik Berglund deflected a Kevin Shattenkirk shot past Antti Niemi from the doorstep. Marc-Edouard Vlasic was covering Berglund behind the net, but the two got tangled up, tripping up the Sharks defenseman. With his defender stumbling behind him, Berglund slid out to the front of the Sharks goal crease just as Shattenkirk's shot arrived.

Havlat put his team in a hole at 6:31 of the period when he was called for tripping Halak behind the Blues net. St Louis grabbed the lead when Berglund took a pass from Andy McDonald while trailing on a rush, then picked a corner, beating Niemi with a point blank shot.

Former Sharks defenseman Kent Huskins put the sharks on the power play at 8:23 after hooking Torrey Mitchell. San Jose did little with the power play, squandering a legitimate chance at tying the game.

Mitchell found himself with the puck on the Blues doorstep with 9 minutes to play, but he opted to dish the puck to Galiardi who whiffed on a shot attempt.

Andrew Desjardins resuscitated the Sharks with his 2nd career playoff goal with 5:16 remaining in regulation. Tommy Wingels worked the puck up the left wing boards after fighting through a check by Roman Polak, then slid a pass back into the slot where Desjardins was following.

That goal allowed San Jose to extend the game after being dominated in the period.

In the 1st overtime, Joe Pavelski setup Brent Burns with a golden opportunity to end it on a pass in the slot. Burns fired a 20-foot shot that Halak impeded to keep things going.

The Sharks had to lean on Niemi, who made 14 saves in the first extra session. He stayed square to the shooters most of the night, not putting himself in awkward positions. Niemi finished the game with 40 saves.

San Jose was forced to burn its timeout at 9:17 of the overtime after St Louis pinned the sharks in their own end with an aggressive forecheck.

The 1st overtime period ended with a pair of chances on each end of the ice. Galiardi whiffed on a wide open net as Halak got turned around in his crease, then T.J. Oshie countered up ice and pumped a shot that Niemi stopped with a blocker save.

The Sharks seemed reenergized to start the 2nd overtime, not allowing the Blues to man-handle them as they did the prior frame. The 4th line of Wingels, Desjardins and Winnik got things rolling with a strong forecheck in the Blues zone, which was followed up by Couture, Clowe and Havlat. The Blues let down their guard for an instant and Havlat ended things.



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Scoring
1 2 3 1OT 2OT T
SJ 0 1 1 0 1 3
STL 0 0 2 0 0 2
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, SJ, Havlat 1 (Boyle, Clowe), 6:02, (pp).
3rd period - 2, STL, Berglund (Shattenkirk, Steen), 0:54. 3, STL, Berglund 2 (McDonald, Russell), 7:28, (pp). 4, SJ, Desjardins 1 (Wingels, Boyle), 14:44.
1st Overtime - None.
2nd Overtime - 5, SJ, Havlat 2 (Clowe, Couture), 3:34.
Penalties
1st period - None.
2nd period - Perron, STL (slashing), 4:23; Demers, SJ (interference), 9:40; Backes, STL (interference), 14:33; Galiardi, SJ (interference), 16:54.
3rd period - Mitchell, SJ (unsportsmanlike conduct), 4:23; Berglund, STL (roughing), 4:23; Havlat, SJ (tripping), 6:31; Huskins, STL (hooking), 8:23.
1st Overtime - None.
2nd Overtime - None.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Niemi 42 40
STL - Halak 34 31
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 1OT 2OT T
SJ 4 9 10 8 3 34
STL 7 13 8 14 0 42
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 3
STL 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Patrik Berglund
Martin Havlat
Dan Boyle
Attendence
19,333
Officials
Referees: Sutherland, Pollack. Linesmen: Nowak, Racicot.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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