PROGRAMMING NOTE: Coverage of Game 3 between the Sharks and Blues begins Monday at 6:30 on Comcast SportsNet California, followed by Sharks-Blues at 7:00, and Sharks Postgame Live after the final buzzer sounds.
ST. LOUIS Lost a bit in the shuffle of the game-concluding brawl that put an exclamation point on the Sharks 3-0 loss to St. Louis in Game 2, was a double-minor on Dan Boyle, after he jumped Andy McDonald with 48 seconds to go in regulation.
Boyle felt McDonald hit him high, and responded by wailing away on the Blues skilled forward.
I thought he hit me pretty high in the head. My head snapped back. Whether it was clean or not, Id have to see the replay. I didnt really particularly like what he did, but its already forgotten about, I guess. But, I didnt appreciate it.
That may or may not have been what Todd McLellan was referring to as the blow to the head in his post game presser, when he went through a laundry list of what he seemed to imply were dirty hits dished out by the Blues. That includes what he called a sucker punch by Vladimir Sobotka on Dominic Moore.
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Boyles 25:19 led all skaters, save St. Louis Alex Pietrangelo (25:54).
Pavelski fights, too: Joe Pavelski was having an effective Game 2, and although it may have been entertaining to watch his featherweight bout with Blues defenseman Kris Russell, it might not have been the wisest decision for him to drop the gloves at 7:52 of the second period.
Thats a trade off that the Blues will agree to any time.
I probably shouldnt take that one, Pavelski said.
There was part of me that felt that was something I could spark myself with. Its just a scrum in front and it just builds up, with emotions. But, yeah, hes not a guy I want to be trading off with. Theres other guys out there. But, its a game. Its a moment in the game, and five minutes to catch your breath and regroup, I guess. It didnt decide the outcome of the game.
Pavelski finished with three shots in 16:21 of ice time, and hit the post in the first period.
Hitchcock proud: Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock was obviously thrilled with the result of the game, but more specifically, he was pleased the way his young team handled the Sharks strong first period push after they fell behind.
We grew up to the level of what it takes to win against a team that knows how to do it. That part feels good. We have some more knowledge that we need to compete at this level at this time of year, Hitchcock said.
Theres a level out there. Theres a tenacity. Teams like San Jose, Chicago Detroit they play right through you. And if you dont respond, you get pushed out the back door quick.
Hitchcock also gave himself a bit of a pat on the back for his three lineup changes, as B.J. Crombeen, Carlo Colaiacovo and Matt DAgostini were inserted after sitting out Game 1.
This is a time of year for players where the ones that want to win and have the experience on how to do it, know when to really push. We knew this was coming, and thats why we changed the lineup, he said.
They got the win they needed last time, and they wanted to test our response. And they tested it, big time, in the first period. I was proud of our team that we fought back, because if we didnt, this was going to be a short series.
Blues harder, says McLellan: Conversely, Sharks head coach Todd McLellan thought St. Louis battle level was harder than was San Joses, particularly as the game progressed.
I thought they were harder the whole night. I just thought when the puck was along the boards, they battled and had body position. They were strong on sticks. They played a very intense game along there. Early in the game we matched it, as the game wore on we didnt, McLellan said.
Pavelski said: We knew it was going to be a battle.