The St Louis Blues came to San Jose on
Thursday night with an objective. Continuing their play as a sudden juggernaut,
the Blues won for the 10th time in their last 11 games. The Sharks held them in
check for waves, but a series of penalties cost them in the end. San Jose
trailed by a goal for the final 40 minutes until St Louis tacked on an
empty-net goal in the closing seconds to take a 3-1 decision at SAP Center.
The Sharks got on the board first when Rudolfs Balcers sent a lead
pass to Noah Gregor on the right side. Gregor drove to the net, then put a shot
between Jordan Binnington's pads for his 6th goal of the season.
lead would be short lived, after Dakota Joshua fired a shot from the slot that
beat James Reimer. The shot found it's way through a heavily screened Reimer.
The Blues only held an 11-9 advantage in shots after the first 20
minutes, and San Jose managed to get to the 1st intermission all square at 1-1.
Penalties bit the Sharks in the middle period. The Blues entered play
ranked 2nd in the NHL on the power play and San Jose played right into their
hands. A Timo Meier holding penalty to end the 1st period, carried over and St
Robert Thomas scored his 20th goal of the season 31
seconds into the middle frame, rifling a shot from the inside of the right
circle after Vladimir Tarasenko found him with a pass from the left wing
boards. Mario Ferraro tried to step between Thomas and the goal, but the Blues
forward snapped a shot that sailed over Reimer's left shoulder.
Louis held a 4-to-1 advantage in power plays by the end of the period.
The Blues inability to extend their lead kept the Sharks in the game. Problem
was, San Jose had no offensive solutions. As has been the case for the majority
of the season, when the top line faltered, the Sharks had nothing else to offer
up. Timo Meier, Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl were held to a combined 5 shots,
but none of the trio threatened with any serious scoring chances.
The Sharks had a 3-on-1 chance late in the 3rd
period, but Matt Nieto elected to shoot the puck, rather than work with his
linemates to out-position Binnington.
San Jose pulled Reimer with just
under 2 minutes remaining, but San Jose could not bag the equalizer. St Louis
helped the Sharks by flubbing several empty net chances.
Buchnevich finally put the Sharks out of their misery by walking a puck into
the empty net to cap the game's scoring. Game Notes:
Blues defenseman Torey Krug was injured in the morning skate and did not
participate for the Blues.
* The Sharks scratched Jonah Gadjovich,
John Leonard, Radim Simek, Erik Karlsson, Alexander Barabanov, Jasper Weatherby
and Adin Hill.
* San Jose out-hit the Blues 18-8. Nicolas Meloche and
Noah Gregor combined for half of San Jose's hit total.
Bordeleau continued his NHL tryout. The rookie logged 16:09 of ice time on 18
shifts, with a single shot on goal, 1 giveaway, 3 takeaways, and was 6 of 10 in
the faceoff circle.
* The announced attendance was 12,136, but that
was tickets sold. San Jose may face a real attendance issue next year, as the
Sharks 3-year pricing lock expires for many season ticket holders this year.