SAN JOSE The effort was better. The execution was not.
That according to Sharks head coach Todd McLellan, who saw his team drop its second game in as many nights as San Jose lost at home to the St. Louis Blues, 4-2 on Saturday.
The Sharks led 2-1 entering the third period, but instead of putting the nail in the coffin, they allowed St. Louis to tie the score and then take the lead. Former Shark Kent Huskins, who had just five goals combined in his two seasons with San Jose, managed to sneak one inside the far post through heavy traffic at 4:33 to make it a 2-2 game.
The Blues worked a three-on-two rush to perfection halfway through the period, when Steen fed Kevin Shattenkirk coming up the middle of the ice. Shattenkirk beautifully hesitated, momentarily freezing Brent Burns, before giving the puck back to Steen who slid it underneath a sliding Thomas Greiss.
In the third we made, not a lot of mistakes, but we allowed them to score and we didnt bury any of our opportunities, said McLellan.
Burns was asked what he saw on the game-winner.
They made a good play, went back to the top, and you have to respect that guy there, he said of Shattenkirk. He made a good pass. It would have been nice to get my stick on it, but its a tough play.
It was a bittersweet night for Burns, whose first goal as a Shark in the second period gave his team its first lead of the night, 2-1.
That stuff is nice, but the two points is whats important. Especially with losing last night, its tough to swallow, he said, referring to the 1-0 loss in Anaheim on Friday.
San Jose had its chances to tie the score before the end of regulation, but some brilliant denials by Blues goalie Brian Elliott prevented that from happening.
Elliott stopped Marleau on a two-on-one with Pavelski shortly after St. Louis had taken the lead back, but it was his save on Dan Boyle late that will show up on the highlight reels.
With the Sharks on a power play, Boyle fired on a wide open net from the faceoff circle, but Elliott brilliantly gloved the shot, freezing play.
Ive got to put that away, said Boyle. I think if I would have taken a half more second to look I would have saw that the bottom of the net was open. We had our chances and we had our looks. We let one slip away.
The puck was on the right guys tape at the right time, said McLellan. Patty is looking Elliott in the eyes, Danny Boyle has an open net, Clowey last night had an open net. You have to be sharp throughout the night to bury those. You cant just count on that last moment, and we werent sharp enough again.
While the Sharks outplayed the Blues for most of the game, the first 15 minutes were sloppy from San Joses perspective. St. Louis opened the scoring during four-on-four play, as Jason Demers turnover in his own zone led directly to a goal by St. Louis Matt DAgostini just 2:37 into the game.
Hindsight is 20-20, but for sure Ill be looking at that tomorrow, said Demers.
The first goal we might as well have been wearing St. Louis jerseys. Its unacceptable, said McLellan.
San Jose was fortunate to get out of the first with a 1-1 tie, as Michal Handzus scored a power play goal at 18:44 to knot the score at the first intermission. It was Handzus second of the year.
McLellan was especially irked with the Sharks first period tactics.
We chose to be the Globetrotters in the first seven or eight minutes of the game, and it doesnt work that way. Not when you have a team prepared to play north and south and prepared to get pucks in behind.
Still, San Jose seemingly took control of the game in the second period. The Sharks were outshooting the Blues 23-12 after 40 minutes, and Burns goal was the reward for strong play at both ends of the ice.
The Sharks had a great opportunity at the end of the second to increase their lead to 3-1, but Elliott made saves on Marleau and Joe Pavelski to keep the Blues in the game and give them a chance in the third.
A chance, as it turns out, in which they took full advantage.
Notes: The Sharks were 1-for-2 on the power play and killed off all three Blues chances. The Sharks skated with seven defensemen, as Jim Vandermeer made his Sharks debut. Tommy Wingels was a healthy scratch. Vandermeer spent a team-low 9:23 on the ice Torrey Mitchell skated on the second line with Clowe and Logan Couture in place of Wingels. Goaltender Harri Sateri was reassigned to Stockton (ECHL) before the game.