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Slow start & finish cost Sharks
Blues rally to win in shootout
12/27/08 - By Mike Lee

Too much holiday cheer caught up with the Sharks on Saturday night, as they kicked off their three-game road trip through the Midwest with a 3-2 shootout loss to the St Louis Blues. Brad Winchester helped the Blues battle back from a 2-1 deficit in the 3rd period, then sealed the victory in the third round of the shootout with a shot that evaded Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov. San Jose lost for the third time in their last five games, and for the 4th time in the month of December.

That total matched their loss count for October and November combined, but it does give the Sharks at least one point in 18 of their last 19 games. Head coach Todd McLellan can’t be pleased with the performance his club turned in on Saturday.
BR> Squaring off against the Western Conference cellar dwellers, San Jose should have been poised to easily claim two points from the Blues. A 3rd period lapse cost them the outright win. Sluggish play in the first 30 minutes of the game looked as if St Louis would take the game outright early.

The Blues capitalized on a turnover in their defensive zone, allowing 2nd year forward David Perron to race up the ice and squeeze a shot between Nabokov’s pads just 26 seconds into the game. Douglas Murray pinched to play a man along the left wing boards, but the puck skipped past him, and Perron was off to the races. Christian Ehrhoff couldn’t get back in time to stop Perron’s shot.

A Dan Hinote tripping penalty at 6:15 gave the Sharks their first power play of the game, but the man advantage provided no relief for a discombobulated offense.

San Jose only mustered 3 shots on goal in the opening period, the last two coming in the last 2 minutes of the frame. The absence of rubber on net, would match their season low for fewest shots on goal in a period.

The Sharks 1st shot of the 2nd period wouldn’t find its way to Blues goaltender Manny Legace until the 8 minute mark.

Jonathan Cheechoo finally got the Sharks on the board at 12:23 with his first goal in over two months. The Sharks winger hovered in the slot, before snapping a Joe Thornton feed from behind the Blues net for his 5th goal of the season. Mike Grier setup the scoring chance by controlling the forecheck along the end boards, then cycled the puck over to Thornton .

Capitalizing on their opportunities, the Sharks would grab the lead with just over 2 minutes to play in the period on Mike Grier’s 5th goal of the season. Cheechoo earned the primary assist by firing a shot at Legace that hit the Blues goaltender in the chest, then dropped to the ice. Legace didn’t know where the puck was, allowing Grier to sweep in and tap it home.

David Backes just missed on a wrap around attempt in the first 2 minutes of the 3rd period, which was followed shortly by a Brad Boyes scoring chance moments later.

St Louis tied things up on a Winchester’s 5th goal of the season, a blast from the slot. Winchester trailed Yan Stastny on a rush, then took a feed from the Blues center before ripping a shot past Nabokov at the 6:00 mark.

An Alex Steen tripping penalty midway through the period gave the Sharks a chance to make the Blues pay, but the man-advantage failed to deliver.

Things got interesting late. Nabokov made a game-saving stop on a Keith Takchuk scoring chance with 5 minutes to play. The Sharks goaltender dove to his left, stopping the shot while sprawled across the goal mouth.

Boyle then threw a shot on goal that hit the right post with under 4 minutes in regulation. Nabokov was forced to make a save on a 2-on-1 Blues break in the final minute. Jay McClement tried going 5-hole on Nabokov, but the Sharks netminder shut the door to preserve the tie.

In the overtime, the Sharks did their best to hand the Blues the win, turning the puck over 5 times in the first 2 minutes, but Nabokov saved their bacon with several saves.

Marcel Goc had a chance to end it in tight, but his point blank shot hit Legace in the chest. Tkachuk had a breakaway with a minute to play, but Nabokov stoned him.

In the shootout Perron put a backhand past Nabokov to lead things off. Boyle missed on a weak forehand chance. Nabokov stopped Boyes on a backhand attempt. Ryane Clowe put a backhand chance over Legace’s left shoulder. Winchester snapped a shot past Nabokov to put the Blues up. Pavelski threw a weak shot that LEgace gloved to end it.

Game Notes:

Milan Michalek returned to the lineup after missing the past two games with an upper body injury. Jeremy Roenick is also traveling with the team, while recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder.


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1 2 3 OT SO T
SJ 0 2 0 0 0 2
STL 1 0 1 0 1 3
1st period - 1, STL, Perron 3 (Berglund), 0:26.
2nd period - 2, SJ, Cheechoo 5 (Thornton, Grier), 12:21. 3, SJ, Grier 5 (Cheechoo, Thornton), 17:49.
3rd period - 4, STL, Winchester 5 (Stastny, Weaver), 6:00.
Overtime - None.
Shootout - STL: Perron (goal), Boyes (miss), Winchester (goal). SJ: Boyle (miss), Clowe (goal), Pavelski (miss).
1st period - Marleau, SJ (interference), 3:49; Hinote, STL (tripping), 6:15.
2nd period - Lukowich, SJ (roughing), 5:49; Backes, STL (hooking), 13:32.
3rd period - Steen, STL (tripping), 10:46.
Overtime - None.
Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 28 26
STL - Legace 26 24
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
SJ 3 7 12 4 24
STL 6 10 9 3 26
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 3
STL 0 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Brad Winchester
David Perron
Jay McClement
Referees: Kowal, Pochmara. Linesmen: Cvik, Miller.

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