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Labanc cashes in with OT goal
San Jose fends off St Louis Blues 3-2
3/9/19 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks completed a perfect 4-0 home stand with a thrilling overtime victory over the St Louis Blues on Saturday afternoon. The red hot Blues entered play in third place in the Central Division after they've revived their season following a coaching change. San Jose outlasted St Louis in the extra period on a Kevin Labanc goal with 1:39 remaining to keep their March perfect.

Labanc's goal capped a result which should have probably been settled in regulation, but the Blues Jake Allen kept St Louis in striking distance all day. The goaltender made several key stops, most notably on Timo Meier, who fell a goal shy of a hat trick.

San Jose converted the game winner after Logan Couture traded passes with Labanc as the two gained the Blues zone on a two-on-two rush. After dishing to Couture on his left, Labanc got a step on Oskar Lundqvist as he made a bee-line for the St Louis net. Couture drew Jaden Schwartz over to the strong side before leading Labanc with a pass that would find the back of the Blues net.

The goal was Labanc's 12th of the season, but more importantly, it staked the Sharks to the Western Conference lead. The win vaulted San Jose over the idle Calgary Flames, who will face Vegas on Sunday.

Sharks nemesis Patrick Maroon staked the Blues to a 1-0 lead midway through the opening period. The Sharks were short-handed after Marcus Sorensen was whistled for a retaliatory cross checking penalty on Mackenzie MacEachern at 8:48. Colton Parayko fired a shot from the blueline that sailed over the Sharks net, but it end the end board glass and bounced in front of the right post. Maroon was parked in that spot and simply had to swat at the puck and poke it past Martin Jones.

Joel Edmundson was sent off for holding Joe Pavelski's stick at 14:28, to put the Sharks on their second power play of the game. Meier made the Blues pay when he slid to the front of the St Louis net as Joe Thornton carried the puck out of the left corner. Thornton zipped a pass to Meier, who pivoted to his left right and whipped a shot through Allen's five-hole.

Meier staked the Sharks to a 2-1 lead with 27 seconds left in the period after Couture sent a blind back-hand pass from the right end boards. Meier was skating out of the right corner before receiving Couture's feed. The Sharks forward deeked Allen to the right, before cutting left across the top of the crease, but he dragged the puck on his backhand, lifting it over Allen's left leg pad for his 26th goal of the season.

St Louis controlled most of the 2nd period, with puck possession and an emphasis on team speed. They would still only generate 6 shots on goal in the period, but the dominated the possession clock.

It appeared as if Jones would preserve the Sharks lead, but a questionable hooking call on Tomas Hertl setup a third Blues power play late. St Louis worked the puck to the front of the net where Barclay Goodrow collected it and was ready to clear it to safety. Goodrow held the puck a second too long. Brayden Schenn swooped in from the right side and swept the puck off Goodrow's stick directly into the Sharks net.

San Jose should have won the game in the 3rd period, but Allen delayed the eventual outcome. San Jose out-shot the Blues 15-4 in the period, but couldn't get a puck past the Blues netminder.

Allen stoned Meier twice in the period on would be hat-trick tallies. Thornton sprung Sorensen on a breakaway chance with 3 minutes left, but once again Allen was there to deny the sellout crowd from celebrating in regulation.

Labanc took care of that 3 minutes later.

Game Notes:

* With his assist on Timo Meier's first goal, Joe Thornton tied Stan Mikita for 14th all time on the NHL scoring list with 1,467 points.

* The Blues entered the game with the 6th best power play on the road. They helped bolster that stat by scoring a pair of power play goals.

* The overtime goal was the 4th career game winner in the extra session for Kevin Labanc.

* Timo Meier, Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl each finished the game with two points.

* In addition to his two goals, Meier recorded 7 shots on goal, a hit and a blocked shot.







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Scoring
1 2 3 OT T
STL 1 1 0 0 2
SJ 2 0 0 1 3
1st period - 1, STL, Maroon 5 (Parayko, Dunn), 10:35, (pp). 2, SJ, Meier 25 (Thornton, Heed), 16:23, (pp). 3, SJ, Meier 26 (Couture, Hertl), 19:33.
2nd period - 4, STL, Schenn 13 (unassisted), 19:57, (pp).
3rd period - None.
Overtime - 5, SJ, Labanc 12 (Couture, Hertl), 3:21.
Penalties
1st period - Edmundson, STL (hooking), 3:01; Sorensen, SJ (cross checking), 8:48; Labanc, SJ (high sticking), 11:04; Edmundson, STL (holding the stick), 14:28.
2nd period - Hertl, SJ (hooking), 19:35.
3rd period - None.
 
Overtime - None.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
STL - Allen 33 30
SJ - Jones 19 17
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
STL 8 6 4 1 19
SJ 10 6 15 2 33
Power Play Conversion
STL 2 of 3
SJ 1 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Timo Meier
Martin Jones
Jake Allen
Attendance
SAP Center - 17,562
Officials
Referees: Skilliter, Walsh. Linesmen: Gibbs, Miller.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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