Photo credit: @StLouisBlues
By Mary Walsh
The San Jose Sharks fell 4-0 to the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center on Friday–their second loss in a row, both to Central Division teams. Goals came from Alex Pietrangelo, Ryan O’Reilly, Jaden Schwartz and Alexander Steen. Chad Johnson made 33 saves for the shutout. Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell made 27 saves on 31 shots for the Sharks.
Each team had four power plays, but all of the goals were at even strength. It was the sixth win of the season for St. Louis and the sixth loss for the Sharks.
After the game, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said: “I think yesterday we were reckless but we had energy. Today we were reckless without energy.”
Sharks captain Joe Pavelksi said: “We’re a better team than we showed the last two games. Just the simple breakdowns, kind of getting out of the system, we kind of see what happens. It can cost you.”
Asked about the Sharks’ defensive game, Pavelski said: “I’m fine with our foundation, you know, I’m really satisfied with that. It’s about us executing it a little bit better. And we need to be a little bit more committed to it.”
Asked if the breakdowns might be attributed to having new faces on the team this season, Sharks forward Logan Couture said: “We’re 17 games in. It’s almost a quarter of the season. You can use that excuse for one or two or maybe even three, you can’t use it for 17. So, we’ve got to figure it out.”
After the game in Dallas on Thursday, coach DeBoer made some line changes. Marcus Sorensen was with Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton, while Evander Kane was on a line with Antti Suomela and Joonas Donskoi. Barclay Goodrow was on a line with Rourke Chartier and Melker Karlsson. With Tomas Hertl still out with concussion symptoms, Kevin Labanc was on the top line with Logan Couture and Timo Meier. On defense, Tim Heed stepped into Joakim Ryan’s spot with Brent Burns. Aaron Dell was in net, which was to be expected in the second game of back to backs.
The Blues scored at 14:50 of the first period. The teams were playing four on four, with Joe Pavelski and Vince Dunn in the box for mutual slashing penalties. Ironically, no one was in the box for Alex Pietrangelo’s stick to Barclay Goodrow’s face, which sent the Sharks forward to the room for repairs.
Just over 30 seconds into the penalties, Pietrangelo caught a pass from Vladimir Tarasenko right in the slot. He had time to pick a spot and shoot over Dell’s shoulder. Assists went to Tarasenko and Ryan O’Reilly.
The Sharks ended the first period in the middle of a power play. That power play wound down without a goal to start the second period. The Blues extended their lead with a goal at 5:28 from Ryan O’Reilly. The Sharks had been outshooting the Blues 5-0 on the period, including some short-handed chances, but play went the other way and Tarasenko got the puck out from behind the Sharks net to Jaden Schwartz. Schwartz sent the puck across the slot to O’Reilly, who caught Dell moving across.
Almost ten minutes later, the Blues scored again. This time, the goal followed a prolonged assault from St. Louis. The Sharks were forced to ice the puck and the Blues took advantage of tired defenders. Jaden Schwartz went to the net an awaited a pass from Tyler Bozak to his right. the short pass set him up for a nice shot over a moving goalie. Assists went to Bozak and Alexander Steen.
The Blues ended the second period on a power play and started the third finishing it off. The Sharks got their third power play of the game at 8:11 of the third. The power play was not very strong and the Sharks gave up a short-handed breakaway to Bozak in the final seconds. Dell was able to prevent another goal.
At 12:21, Steen scored a fourth for the Blues while Sharks got tangled up with a flurry of Blues skaters in the slot. Steen skated around and through the traffic and put his shot over Dell’s pads. Assists went to Bozak and Colton Parayko.
Brent Burns took a tripping penalty moments later, putting the Sharks on the penalty kill. The Blues did not take chances with their power play and killed time, holding the zone. Dell made a good glove save on Parayko, but didn’t have to make many saves for that penalty kill.
The Sharks next play on Sunday back in San Jose against the Calgary Flames at 6:00 PM PT. That game will kick off a six-game homestand for Team Teal.