The second 5-game road trip of the season is
done. Unlike the first go around, the Sharks dropped the majority of game
played, which was capped with a dismal 4-1 loss to the St Louis Blues in
Missouri on Thursday night. The Sharks failed to capitalize on early momentum,
and ended up getting out-classed by a team motivated to win.
teams came out swinging. Literally. Jake Middleton and Robert Bortuzzo dropped
the gloves immediately after the opening faceoff, in an attempt to light a fire
under their respective benches. The Blues lost to the Arizona Coyotes on
Tuesday, and the Sharks have been inconsistent enough to slip out of playoff
contention a month into the season, so it was reasonable for the two to try and
motivate more inspired play from their teammates.
A pair of Shark
mistakes would help the Blues carry a 1-0 lead into the first
Logan Couture appeared to give the Sharks the early lead
7:21 into contest after he beat rookie goaltender Ville Husso, but a replay
challenge revealed that rookie winger Jonathan Dahlen was offside.
Kevin Labanc's inability to stay on his skates resulted in a Blues power play
at 8:59 of the period when he took out Tyler Bozak after losing his feet in the
Sharks zone. The league's 2nd ranked power play used the opportunity to take
the lead when Brandon Saad tapped home a deflection after James Reimer
valiantly tried to defend a slew of shots from in tight.
A failure to
come out of the gate to start the 2nd period would cost the Sharks. Robert
Thomas doubled the Blues lead by chipping a pass past Reimer while three Shark
defenders stood around the crease watching.
Dahlen made up for his
gaff earlier in the game by scoring his 7th goal of the season at 8:16. Timo
Meier held the puck along the end boards with a defender draped all over him,
but found a way to slide the puck to the front of the net as Dahlen raced up
the slot. The rookie punched home Meier's feed to halve the Blues lead, going
five-hole on Husso.
The deficit would work right back to 2-goals 2
minutes later when Saad finished on a 2-on-1 chance that exposed the Sharks
defense. Matt Nieto was positioned at the Sharks blueline while the Sharks
tried to work the offensive zone, but after a turner, the forward was late to
get back allowing Saad to slam dunk an Oskar Sundqvist pass past Reimer.
The Sharks repeated the habit of showing up late to start the period,
by surrendering the game's 5th goal 69 seconds into the 3rd period. Jordan
Kyrou took a David Perron lead pass up the left wing before cranking a shot
that beat Reimer to the glove side.
That's all she wrote. The Sharks
had neither the talent or motivation to try and claw their way back into this
one. You couldn't find 22 people who wanted to get on a plane as bad as the
Sharks in the 3rd period of this one.
Reimer would end the game with
44 saves. The problem of course, is that San Jose allowed the Blues to take 48
shots. The score would have been much worse had it not been for Reimer's
performance. Game Notes:
* Kevin Labanc's play
continues to be a point of focus. The winger was called out by head coach Bob
Boughner earlier in the week, and his 1st period penalty led to the Blues first
goal. He would be moved onto the 1st line in the 3rd period because Rudolfs
Balcers played himself out of that spot. Balcers made a couple of questionable
passes when he was in a position to take a quality shot.
* The Blues
enjoyed four power play chances, while San Jose did not draw a single power
play on the evening. Not that they deserved one, but there were plenty of
instances where interference could have been called.
* Rookie Santeri
Hatakka made his second straight start in place of Radim Simek, who was the odd
man out after San Jose's loss to Colorado last Saturday. Hatakka was limited to
12 minutes of ice time. He was a -1 with no shots or blocks.
Middleton's 1st period fight with Robert Bortuzzo was clearly an attempt by
both teams to generate some energy. It worked for St Louis. The Sharks seemed
to run out of steam after Brandon Saad scored his second goal of the night.
* Saad had gone 5 games without recording a point, before he scored
his two goals. Teh Blues forward has 4 goals in 2 games against San Jose so far
this season. He has scored 6 goals total this season.