Sharks blow lead, fall 4-2 to Blues

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Sharks blow lead, fall 4-2 to Blues

BOX SCORE
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.

Canucks battling mumps ahead of meeting with Sharks

Canucks battling mumps ahead of meeting with Sharks

Several Vancouver Canucks are battling an outbreak of the mumps ahead of a game on Saturday with the Sharks at Rogers Arena.

At least five players are expected to miss the game. Troy Stecher is the only player with a confirmed test result, general manager Jim Benning said in a statement, but Chris Tanev, Nikita Tryamkin, Mike Chaput and Markus Granlund “have each presented symptoms.”

Players with symptoms are “immediately being tested and quarantined in isolation for a five-day period from the onset of symptoms or until test results prove negative.”

Vancouver Coastal Health authorities were on hand at Rogers Arena on Friday to screen players and staff, and issue immunizations if necessary.

The Sharks and Canucks will both be coming off of their bye week when they play for the second of five times this season.

Sharks' Thornton can follow Marleau, make history in Vancouver

Sharks' Thornton can follow Marleau, make history in Vancouver

SAN JOSE – Three weeks ago, Sharks forward Patrick Marleau made history in Vancouver when he scored his 500th career goal at Rogers Arena on Feb. 2.

His longtime teammate has a chance to make more history on the same ice surface on Saturday. Joe Thornton sits two assists away from becoming just the 13th player in NHL history to reach 1,000 for his career, as the Sharks prepare to resume their post-bye week schedule against the Canucks.

“It’s neat,” Thornton said recently. “It’s something I don’t think growing up or even playing so many years you realize you’re going to hit this milestone. When you see the names – I haven’t really looked at the names yet. I think once it hits I’ll kind of peek and see who’s on that list. It’s a nice accomplishment, I guess.”

Thornton, of course, has helped make goal scorers out of many different teammates throughout his career in Boston and San Jose. Marleau has scored 120 goals in which Thornton registered an assist to top the list, while Joe Pavelski is close behind (111). Jonathan Cheechoo (89 goals assisted by Thornton), Boston’s Glen Murray (70) and Brent Burns (50) have also benefited from being on the ice at the same time as the best player in Sharks franchise history.

“I’ve been lucky to play with so many goal scorers,” Thornton said. “For a guy that passes the puck a lot, you need guys to finish. I’ve been lucky enough ever since I’ve been here in San Jose, and really my whole career. … I’ve had so many good goal scorers that it helps you get to that point.”

Logan Couture gave Thornton more credit than he was willing to give himself. 

“You look over the years – Cheechoo, [Devin Setoguchi], now Pav. He finds guys in the slot," Couture said. "Obviously he’s made some tremendous passes over the years, and guys have put it in the back of the net. … The way he’s able to kind of take a quick peek out of the corner of his eye and find someone and deliver it through feet and sticks and all that stuff, it’s pretty special.”

Thornton is currently 23rd all-time in scoring in NHL history with 1,380 points. He would be just the second player in to debut during the 1990s to reach 1,000 career assists, joining Florida’s Jaromir Jagr. He could eclipse Joe Sakic (1,016 assists) for 12th place on the all-time assist list before the season is through, and is 43 helpers away from breaking into the top 10 (Marcel Dionne, 1,040).

In 60 games this season, Thornton has five goals and 34 assists for 39 points. He has recorded multiple assists in a game six times this season, with the most recent occurrence on Jan. 18 in Los Angeles.

Although he’s off his scoring pace from last season, when he had 82 points in 82 games and finished fifth in voting for the Hart Trophy, Thornton has admitted that this season has been a grind for him. The 37-year-old is coming off of a short summer, helping the Sharks reach their first-ever Stanley Cup Final, and helped Canada win the World Cup of Hockey in September, too.

He’ll be a player to watch coming out of the bye week, which he was looking forward to.

“For me, it’s nice. It’s going to be a nice little break before our last [22] games and our postseason,” he said last week." I think it kind of fits in perfect for us. Get our rest, and get ready for the sprint.”

In 56 career regular season games against the Canucks, Thornton has 16 goals and 48 assists for 64 points.