Sharks shut out by Blues in road-trip opener

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Sharks shut out by Blues in road-trip opener

BOX SCORE

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.

Rewind: Sharks show no rust from layoff, fall to Sens anyway

Rewind: Sharks show no rust from layoff, fall to Sens anyway

SAN JOSE – Against Ottawa on Wednesday night, the Sharks showed no ill effects from their recent respite. They controlled play in the offensive end for long stretches, earned six power plays, and outshot and out-chanced the Senators for the majority of the three periods. 

There was no rust to speak of despite no games since Friday and no practices or meetings on Saturday or Sunday. From the opening puck drop, the Sharks were the better team.

It didn’t earn them a win, though, or even a single point in the standings. Justin Braun couldn’t prevent a bouncing puck from getting past him with about one minute left in regulation of a tie game, and Chris Kelly squeezed a shot through Martin Jones while holding off Marc-Edouard Vlasic. The Sens added an empty netter, beating San Jose for the fifth straight time, 4-2.

Braun offered his perspective of the game-winner.

"It was just bouncing in the neutral zone,” he said. “I feel [Kelly] coming on me, and I'm trying to whack it over to [Joe Thornton and] miss. Miss with my feet. … You want to have that one back. Other than that, I think the boys played pretty well."

While Braun could have played that one differently, the Sharks probably deserved better than to be tied at 2-2 at that stage. They outshot Ottawa, 37-17, and out-attempted the Senators a whopping 78-36.

Despite a strong first period, they fell behind 2-0.

On an early power play, Mark Stone was the beneficiary of a deflected puck in front of the net, when Mike Hoffman’s shot hit both Paul Martin and Brent Burns before squirting to Stone. Erik Karlsson increased the lead to 2-0 with a wrist shot through a screen a few minutes later.

“Take a penalty, they get a lucky bounce, they score a goal, [then] they go up two on a shot through traffic,” Logan Couture said. “I thought we had most of the chances in that first.”

No one had better chances throughout the night than Joe Pavelski, who was the best player on the ice. The Sharks captain was robbed in front of the net twice late in the first period, rang a shot off the crossbar in the second on a breakaway, and in the third his desperation attempt on a loose puck just outside of the blue paint was snared by Ottawa goalie Mike Condon.

Pavelski finished with a game-high seven shots, and 10 shot attempts altogether.

“That’s the way it goes,” he said. “We’ve won games 2-1, 3-2. Tonight we didn’t find that extra one, and some of the chances we had, we have to get it.”

The power play got one in the second period, courtesy of Couture, but could have had more on its six opportunities. That 1-for-6 stood out on the scoresheet to coach Pete DeBoer.

“I thought the power play maybe could have won us the game,” he said.

Even with wins in six of their last seven entering Wednesday night, though, the Sharks are still struggling to score. They have two or fewer scores in eight of their last 11 games, although they’ve managed to go a respectable 6-4-1 over that span.

They continue to get goals from the usual suspects like Couture (seven goals in 10 games) and Brent Burns, who had the game-tying goal in the third period (his fifth in eight games), but the depth scoring just hasn’t shown up nearly one-third into the season. It’s clearly becoming an issue as evidenced by DeBoer’s constantly shuffling his lines, which he did again late Wednesday.

The coach downplayed a suggestion that the depth scorers aren’t holding their water, though.

“We've been managing to find ways to win games and get enough goals to win,” DeBoer said. “Just didn't happen tonight, even though the shots and most of the play was in our favor. We just didn't win."

While the shot and scoring chance discrepancy was encouraging, the last minute loss meant it was all for naught.

“You’re never happy when you lose, especially [when] you give up a late goal, you want to at least get a point out of that game,” Couture said. “I thought we were the better team, start to finish. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t find a way to get the third one.”

Instant Replay: Sharks' streak snapped by Sens in final minute

Instant Replay: Sharks' streak snapped by Sens in final minute

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – Chris Kelly scored with a little more than a minute left in regulation, pushing the Senators to a 4-2 win over the Sharks at SAP Center on Wednesday night.

On the deciding goal, Justin Braun misplayed a puck at the defensive blue line, and Kelly raced ahead on a partial breakaway before chipping it through Martin Jones at 18:54.

San Jose outshot Ottawa 37-17 for the game, and out-attempted the Senators 78-36, but lost for just the second time in their last eight games (6-2-0).

Ottawa won its fifth straight against San Jose, improving to 1-1 on its four game road trip.

Despite a lopsided advantage in shots and shot attempts throughout the night, the Sharks trailed 2-1 to start the third period. Brent Burns got the equalizer in a four-on-four situation, though, ripping a wrist shot from the top of the circle through Mike Condon at 6:30.

The Sharks had the better of the scoring chances in the first period, but it was Ottawa that claimed a 2-0 lead after the opening stanza.

Mark Stone’s power play goal at 3:42 opened the scoring. A shot by Mike Hoffman deflected off of the skates of Paul Martin and then Burns before Stone found it in front of the net.

Three-and-a-half minutes later Erik Karlsson made it 2-0, wiring a wrist shot through Jones after the Sharks were caught running around in their own end. Jones appeared to be screened by Tom Pyatt on the goal at 7:19.

Condon made some clutch saves later in the period, including a pair on Joe Pavelski, who was denied on a Sharks power play with 4:30 to go and then again at even strength with 1:52 remaining before the break. Pavelski was around the net all night, finding the post on a breakaway in the second period and getting robbed by Condon’s glove early in the third.

The Sharks kept pressuring the Senators in the middle frame, finally breaking through on the power play. A laser from Couture at 8:19 cleanly beat the Ottawa goalie for his seventh goal in the last 10 games.

Couture was playing despite minor surgery on Saturday, when he had a screw from a previous operation that had been bothering him removed from his right ankle.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau had an empty net goal to cap the scoring.

Special teams

The Sharks finished 1-for-6 on the power play, and are 6-for-25 over their last eight games. They generated 11 power play shots against the Senators in more than 10 minutes of power play time.

San Jose surrendered a power play goal against for the fifth time in the last six games, going 9-for-14 over that span. They came through late in the third with 3:58 to go in regulation when Patrick Marleau was issued an interference minor.

In goal

Jones was making his first start against Ottawa as a member of the Sharks, as Alex Stalock played both games last season. He took the loss with three goals allowed on just 16 shots.

Condon improved to 4-1-1 on the year with 35 saves.

Lineup

David Schlemko did not play due to injury, and is day-to-day. Dylan DeMelo played in his third game of the season, all coming within the last two weeks.

Ottawa’s Bobby Ryan returned after missing the previous three games with a finger injury. Goalie Craig Anderson was not with the club for personal reasons, as his wife is battling cancer.

Up next

The Sharks will visit Anaheim for the first time this season on Friday. The Sharks are 1-1 against the Ducks this season, both at SAP Center.

San Jose hosts the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday for its second game in as many nights.