Blues Hold Off the Sharks- Snap 3 Game Losing Streak

Brayden Schenn and Jaden Schwartz work in front of the San Jose Sharks net with Brent Burns defending and Aaron Dell in net. (Scott Rovak/NHL via Getty Images)

Enterprise Center – St. Louis, MO

San Jose, 19-21-4, 6th in Pacific Division at St. Louis, 26-10-7, 1st in Central Division

The Blues renew their rivalry with San Jose tonight. It’s the Sharks’ first trip to St. Louis since game 6 of the Western Conference Final when the Blues punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals with a 5-1 victory.

With Colton Parayko nursing an upper-body injury, Niko Mikkola makes his NHL debut and will be paired with Robert Bortuzzo. The Blues blew a 3-0 lead in Vegas Saturday and have dropped three straight. They still sit atop the Western Conference, 5 points ahead of Colorado.

San Jose is coming off their crushing defeat in Washington. The Sharks gave up two goals in the final minute of regulation when the Capitals pulled their goalie. Washington center Lars Eller completed the incredible comeback when he scored 2 minutes into overtime to give the Caps a 5-4 win. Before their misfortune in the nation’s capital, the Sharks had won 3 in a row.

Tonight marks the one year anniversary of Jordan Binnington’s debut, a 5-0 shutout of the Flyers. Binnington is back in net tonight after being pulled in his last start against Colorado.

1st Period

St. Louis got off to a strong start, with shots by Vince Dunn and David Perron within the first 30 seconds. Around 4 minutes into the period, Alex Pietrangelo sent a slick pass to Jordan Kyrou in the slot, but Aaron Dell made a good save with his right pad. Kyrou returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch the last two games.

With 7:39 left in the period, Marc Edouard Vlasic went off for holding MacKenzie MacEachern, which pitted the Blues’ 5th ranked power play against the Shark’s top-ranked penalty kill. The Sharks’ kill won this battle, as the Blues had one good chance with Perron at the side of the net, but aside from that, St. Louis could not get set up.

With a minute left, Pietrangelo and Kyrou teamed up for another good chance with a two on 1, but Petro held the puck a tic too long, and his pass went behind Kyrou.

The Blues had the better chances and outshot the Sharks 10-5 in the period, but Aaron Dell was strong in net for San Jose.

2nd Period

San Jose came out strong to open the period. Binnington made a couple of great saves early, including a point-blank stop on Kevin LaBanc on a good feed from Joe Thornton from behind the Blues’ net. But the Blues would strike first.

Two quick strikes for the Blues

5:30 into the period, Brayden Schenn stole the puck away from Evander Kane with an excellent stick check and sent a pass up ice to Tyler Bozak. Bozak and Alexander Steen crisscrossed, and Steen sent a pass through his legs and back to Bozak, who beat Dell high over the glove.


A little over a minute later, Ivan Barbashev made it 2-0 Blues. Oskar Sundqvist found Barbashev breaking down the middle all alone. Dell stopped Barbashev’s breakaway, but Sundqvist- who started the play -never gave up on it. Sunny stole the puck from Logan Couture along the left sideboards and sent a cross-ice pass to Barbashev. Barbashev was in the perfect position for the one-timer that beat Dell high over his glove.

St. Louis had their 2nd power play when Kevin LaBanc went to the box for slashing, but once again, the Sharks penalty kill was outstanding. The Blues had even less pressure this time, with no shots and absolutely no time to set up in the zone.

The penalty kill seemed to energize San Jose, and Binnington had to be sharp to keep it a 2-0 game. Thornton again sent a pass out front, this time to defenseman Radin Simek, but Binnington was there. Then with 20 seconds left, Thornton had a great chance of his own, but the Blues’ goalie swallowed up the puck and left no rebound. After two periods, it was 2-0 Blues.

3rd Period

Just over a minute into the 3rd, Brayden Schenn hooked Brent Burns.

 

In contrast to the  Blues power play, it didn’t take long for the Sharks to cash in. Timo Meier sent a hard wrist shot from the right circle past Binnington to make it 2-1 and give the Sharks some life. Erik Karlsson and Barclay Goodrow had assists on the play.

Less than 2 minutes after the San Jose goal, the Sharks iced the puck, giving the Blues an offensive zone face-off. O’Reilly won the draw cleanly and found Perron, who sent a hard wrister toward the net. The shot deflected off the glove of Sharks’ forward Stefan Noesen and past Dell stick side. The Blues had their two-goal lead back.

Sharks’ dominant PK turns into a short-handed goal

With 7:35 left in the game, Barclay Goodrow cross-checked Jordan Kyrou, giving the Blues their 3rd power play. For the first time all night, the Blues had some offensive zone time with the extra attacker, but the Sharks broke out short-handed. Erik Karlsson had a great chance coming down the right side, but Binnington was there for the initial save. Karlsson stayed with the play, skated behind the Blues’ goal, and was able to bank the puck off Binnington when there was a scrum around the net.

It was 3-2 with a little over 3 minutes left, but the Blues were able to hold on and snap their three-game losing streak.

Summary and notes

The win was the Blues’ 6th straight at home.

Perron’s goal was the game-winner and his team-leading 18th of the season.

The San Jose penalty kill lived up to its number 1 billing. The Blues went 0 for three on the power play and didn’t register a single shot, giving up a short-handed goal in the process.

Logan Couture went off with an apparent leg injury 5 minutes into the 2nd period and did not return.

Niko Mikkola was solid in his debut. The rangy defenseman was strong on his skates, had a shot on goal, a couple of good passes, and did not make any glaring mistakes.

Next up:

Both teams host games Thursday evening. St. Louis welcomes the Buffalo Sabres to town while the Sharks host the Columbus Blue Jackets.

 

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