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Sharks fizzle in playoff style matchup
Blues shutout SJ on SAP Center ice
3/22/16 - By Mike Lee -

With the Sharks on the verge of clinching a playoff spot, San Jose got a taste of what playoff hockey is going to be like on Tuesday night. The Sharks misfired in a defensive slugfest, losing to the St Louis Blues 1-0 at SAP Center in a primer for the post season. San Jose missed a chance to jump past the Anaheim Ducks in the standings and climb within 3 points of the Los Angeles Kings for the Pacific Division lead after both teams lost.

In a similar situation, the Blues are looking to catch the Dallas Stars in the Central Division, and their shutout performance by goaltender Brian Elliott helped them keep pace with the Stars who also won on Tuesday.

If Tuesday night was a preview of what the Sharks can expect in the playoffs, it didn't bode well. San Jose tried to employ their perimeter first attack which attempts to poke holes in the opposition with long range shots. That didn't work against a defensively solid Blues team that kept Elliott's path of vision clean all night and simply clamped down on the Sharks.

San Jose played a lethargic opening 20 minutes that saw them out-shoot the Blues 10-6 in the period, but it was the Blues who had the majority of scoring chances in the period. It was an opening period more indicative of a team reading for summer vacation than the playoffs.

The 2nd period didn't provide any more in terms of scoring chances, but at least the Sharks showed that they had a pulse. The problem was they had not desire to get anywhere near the Blues goal mouth. The closest the Sharks came to scoring in the period came on a Joel Ward breakaway that ended with the puck sliding wide of the net as Ward was hauled down.

Early penalties were reminders that the Sharks needed to capitalize to grab some momentum, but the Sharks power play simply fizzled all night.

St Louis made the Sharks pay for their misgivings midway through the 3rd period when rookie Robby Fabbri lifted a puck past Martin Jones after Troy Brouwer lofted the puck out of the Blues zone. Fabbri raced up the right wing boards as he gathered the puck and stopped on a dime just under the right dot. The young forward waited for Sharks defenseman Justin Braun skate past him before he yanked the shot between Jones and the right post.

Braun could have applied more pressure on the shooter, but his poor decision making left Fabbri to go one-on-one with Jones.

With time winding down, Carl Gunnarsson lifted a puck over the glass to put the Sharks on the power play with 2:45 to play. David Backes then floored Joe Pavelski with a high stick to the Shark captains mouth 1:22 later to give the Sharks an abbreviated two man advantage.

San Jose pulled Jones to make a 6-on-3 power play, but the Sharks elected to showcase their passing skills rather than attempt to actually score and tie the game. It was a frustrating display, with Joe Thornton as the centerpiece. The puck moved all over the zone, traversing ever inch of the ice except for the segment that mattered.

Backes cross check on Pavelski served it's purpose. No Shark wanted any part of that type of abuse, so they steered clear of Elliott. Pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, time expired. Game.

You can't squander a chance any more than that.

As they prepare for the post season, the defensive barrier gets more intense, so if the Sharks expect to get anywhere, they need to figure out how to get to the net. Not put on a passing fest.





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Scoring
1 2 3 T
STL 0 0 1 1
SJ 0 0 0 0
1st period - None.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 1, STL, Fabbri 17 (Brouwer, Bouwmeester), 9:55.
Penalties
1st period - Edmundson, STL (slashing), 18:28.
2nd period - Edmundson, STL (elbowing), 10:48; Zubrus, SJ (high sticking), 15:35.
3rd period - Couture, SJ (interference), 3:02; Gunnarsson, STL (delay of game - puck over glass), 17:15; Backes, STL (high sticking), 18:37.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
STL - Elliott 37 37
SJ - Jones 24 23
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
STL 6 9 9 24
SJ 10 12 15 37
Power Play Conversion
STL 0 of 2
SJ 0 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Brian Elliott
Martin Jones
Robby Fabbri
Attendance
15,411
Officials
Referees: Dwyer, Walsh. Linesmen: Nansen, Grandt.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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