Sharks shut out by Blues in road-trip opener

February 13, 2012, 2:30 am
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ST. LOUIS -- In what was their second and final appearance in St. Louis this season, the Sharks are probably hoping they dont have to think about any more visits to the Scottrade Center until next years schedule is revealed.San Jose was frustratingly scoreless in its two games here, including Sunday nights 3-0 loss, in which the Blues scored a pair of five-on-three goals and an empty-netter in the closing seconds. Overall, San Jose has been held off of the board for the last 124 minutes and 56 seconds in The Gateway to the West.The Sharks have been silent on the power play here, too, finishing 0-for-4 on Sunday and a combined 0-for-10 overall, including an 0-for-6 effort in a 1-0 loss on Dec. 10.

Sunday night's failures with a man advantage brought their recent momentum in that department to a screeching halt, giving the Sharks their third regulation loss in the last four games (1-3-0). Three of the four power plays on Sunday night were in the third period, leaving the Sharks an open door to cut into what was a 2-0 Blues lead. Instead, St. Louis suffocating style not only prevented the Sharks from getting on the board, but San Jose didnt really have any notable scoring chances, either.Our power play was horrible, so they won that battle, Ryane Clowe said. We didnt even get one real good opportunity, actually, on the power play to even get a scoring chance. That was disappointing, especially the way our power play has been going.Not much, said Brent Burns, when asked what he saw from the Sharks power play. Theyre a great team, and they havent lost too much at home, so obviously theyre good. It was probably a combination of things.The Sharks were 10-for-22 in their last eight games with a man advantage before Sunday, and had scored at least once in seven of those.Todd McLellan gave the Blues credit for their penalty kill, but added: we just couldnt get it out of the crap, is what we call it. We didnt win enough battles in the corners, we werent stick-strong, we didnt get our eyes off the boards and never had a chance to establish any type of momentum in their end to wear them out. They would clear it, get fresh guys on the ice, and do it again. It was a frustrating night that way.What might have been just as frustrating although no one was willing to admit it were some of the penalties that gave the Blues their two-man advantage in the second period, leading to a goal by David Perron. Brad Winchesters elbowing call, in particular, seemed questionable at best.Winchester chose not to comment on the penalty after the game.McLellan simply said: We had eight minutes of power play time and did nothing. Im not going to question anything.The Blues have gained points in 19 consecutive home games (16-0-3), and recorded their league-leading 11th shutout behind 25 saves from Jaroslav Halak.The game was the first stop on a season-long nine-game road trip for the Sharks, who visit the Washington Capitals on Monday night.The Sharks had the early energy, which wasnt unexpected after the Blues had a hard-fought 3-2 overtime home win over Colorado the night before. Clowe nearly tipped in a pass from Joe Thornton early in the game, but couldnt quite find the handle.Three consecutive penalties later in the first cost San Jose the momentum, as well as the first goal. A careless delay of game penalty by Andrew Desjardins gave the Blues a two-man advantage, and they capitalized on a blast by Alex Pietrangelo from inside the blue line after the defenseman had time to wait for traffic to develop in front of Antti Niemi at 15:03.I liked our start, McLellan said. We played the right kind of game, at least for the first 10 minutes until we took the penalties. After that, they got a little momentum back and started to play their game.We were skating well. I thought we had good jump, and the start we wanted, Clowe said. We obviously didnt score, but we were thinking it was going to lead to a goal.Desjardins penalty was preceded by a Burns interference call that gave St. Louis its first two-man advantage of the night, albeit for just nine seconds. Dan Boyle was in the box for a hooking penalty at the time, which the Sharks nearly had killed before Burns infraction.San Jose went more than 11 minutes without a shot on goal in the first after storming out of the gates. Halak stopped Burns attempt with 12:18 left in the period, and wasnt tested again until a wrist shot by Joe Pavelski with 41 seconds to go.The second period was devoid of much action at all as neither team was able to sustain anything in the others offensive zone. That changed late when Winchester was called for elbowing and Clowe was whistled for tripping, both behind the Sharks net at 15:43.The Blues went on their third two-man advantage of the night, this time for a full two minutes, and increased their lead to 2-0 on Perrons goal. T.J. Oshie skillfully kept the puck in at the blue line and sent it to Pietrangelo for a point shot. Perron was able to slip it by Niemi at 17:16 for his third goal in the last two games.The goal nullified what had been a very good penalty kill by Pavelski, Burns and Douglas Murray up to that point, including a diving save by Burns on Perron, who was looking at an open net.Our penalty kill in that situation wasnt that bad, McLellan said. Especially that last one, we did everything we wanted to do, but it finally wore us out and they put it in the net.Pietrangelo finished off a three-point night by adding an empty net goal at 19:54 of the third to give St. Louis their third regulation win in as many tries against the Sharks.This team, if theyre in the playoffs, thats how youre going to have to beat them is probably, 2-1, 1-0, Clowe said. We havent found a way to do it yet.Odds and ends: Jim Vandermeer skated as a forward while John McCarthy was scratched. Jason Demers (lower body) and Tommy Wingels (left shoulder) remained out, but both are skating and could return soon. The Sharks were 26-for-54 in the faceoff circle. Alex Pietrangelo and Dan Boyle tied for a game-high four shots each. Each team had 18 blocked shots. Antti Niemi finshed with 25 saves on 27 shots. The Blues welcomed back forward Andy McDonald, who missed 51 games with a concussion suffered in October. Logan Coutures eight-game point streak ended, as did Joe Thorntons five-game streak.