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Sharks get back to winning in St Louis
SJ avoids back to back loses
2/4/15 - By Mike Lee -

If the Sharks are going to make a run this season, they have to learn how to avoid back to back loses. They took a big step forward on Thursday night, bouncing back from their in Anaheim two nights earlier with a solid 3-1 win in St Louis. San Jose took advantage of a St Louis Blues team that has been hard pressed to score goal s of late. The Blues have averaged a goal a game in their last five contest, and the Sharks chipped away in a crucial road game that helped them keep pace in the playoff race.

The Blues are 6-3-1 in their last ten games and sit 8 points ahead of the Sharks in the Western Conference standings, so waltzing into Scottrade Center and capturing a solid win was no easy task. The Sharks continue to be an anomaly on the road, stifling another opponent.

The Sharks played a solid opening 20 minutes, keeping the puck out of their own net. The game opened with a flurry of scoring chances for both teams in the opening 3 minutes before both defenses settled down. San Jose won the shot counter battle by periods end 16-13. All the shot netted a scoreless period though, due in part to solid performances by Martin Jones and Brian Elliott.

Elliott was the first to surrender a goal. Joonas Donskoi snapped a shot from the right circle 3:55 into the 2nd period after Joe Pavelski carried the puck up the gut, veering to his left and feeding his linemate after both Blues defenders slid to cut off his path. Donskoi had plenty of open ice in which to pick his path toward the net. As he got to the dot, the young Finnish forward got a shot off that zipped past the Blues goaltender for his 8th tally of the season.

Joe Thornton tacked his 10th goal of the season less than 4 minutes later right after the Blues killed off a power play. The goal went in the books as an even strength tally but centerman Jori Lehtera was late to get back into the defensive zone as the Sharks completed a 4-legged passing sequence that ended with Thornton taking a cross-ice feed form Pavelski before putting a shot under Elliott's left pad as the goaltender tried sliding across the goal-mouth to cut off Thornton's shot.

Jay Bouwmeester cut the Sharks lead in half with a blast from the left point with 3:06 left in the period. The Blues defenseman sent a blast toward forward Vladimir Tarasenko where the puck was deflected down to the ice where it bounced past Jones. Tarasenko was originally credited with the goal, but replays showed that Sharks defenseman Paul Martin actually got his stick blade on the puck, which forced the direction change.

The Blues made a push to knot the game up early in the 3rd period, but the Sharks and their netminder found a way to keep the lead. San Jose did a solid job controlling the neutral zone, suppressing any nail biting situations.

Matt Nieto helped pad the Sharks lead late in the game on one of those hockey oddities. A Sharks shot hit defenseman Brent Burns and shot up into the air, unbeknownst to anyone on the ice. When it landed, Nieto was the first to identify it, scooping it up then taking three strides to the net from the left side of the slot. The Sharks forward pulled the puck back across the goal mouth from left to right before sliding the puck under Elliott for his 7th goal of the season.

Nieto's goal was the dagger that did the Blues in, which was validated by the exodus of fans from Scottrade Center. St Louis made little push to try and make up the two goal lead with such little time left, allowing the Sharks to get back into the win columns.

It was an important position to take if the Sharks are serious about making a real run.





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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 0 2 1 3
STL 0 1 0 1
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, SJ, Donskoi 8 (Pavelski), 3:55. 2, SJ, Thornton 10 (Pavelski, Vlasic), 7:15. 3, STL, Bouwmeester 2 (Pietrangelo, Statsney), 16:54.
3rd period - 4, SJ, Nieto 7 (unassisted), 16:44.
Penalties
1st period - Braun, SJ (slashing), 1:06; Edmundson, STL (cross checking), 8:48; Burns, SJ (hooking), 12:51; Backes, STL (slashing), 13:43.
2nd period - Lehtera, STL (hooking), 5:09; Burns, SJ (tripping), 6:33; Tarasenko, STL (hooking), 6:49; Ward, SJ (roughing), 13:12; Upshall, STL (roughing), 13:12.
3rd period - None.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Jones 27 26
STL - Elliott 32 29
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 16 10 6 32
STL 13 6 8 27
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 4
STL 0 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Joe Pavelski
Jay Bouwmeester
Joe Thornton
Attendance
18,803
Officials
Referees: Hebert, Hebert. Linesmen: Amell, Racicot.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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