Photo credit: @nbcbayarea
By Mary Walsh
SAN JOSE — In an unusual twist, the San Jose Sharks defeated the St. Louis Blues 4-0, a mirror image of their loss in St. Louis eight days ago. Joe Pavelski scored twice, with additional goals from Erik Karlsson and Evander Kane. It was Karlsson’s first goal as a Shark. Logan Couture had assists on three of those goals. Aaron Dell, who was also in net on the eighth in St. Louis, made 30 saves for the shutout. Blues goaltender Chad Johnson made 25 saves in the loss.
After the game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said:
Tonight was kind of classic Shark hockey and that’s good, that’s what we were striving for. No breakaways, that was nice. I don’t know if they had any two on ones, you know there was a couple of breakdowns here and there and Deller was great for us. But we got the offense off of being smart and it comes if you do it right, for the most part. Tonight was a good bounce back game for us.
Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer credited the team’s attention to detail: “I thought our attention to detail was much better. It helped getting the lead and getting a couple goals and playing out in front. I thought Deller made a couple saves at the right time. There were some scrambles there where, you know, if we let one in maybe the game swings a little bit, but I thought overall our attention to detail all over the ice was the best it’s been in probably a week or so.”
The first period was contentious, with the teams exchanging good chances without many whistles. The Blues had a power play very early in the period, a tripping call against Couture 48 seconds in. The Sharks killed that off and had their own power play start in the final seconds of the period. David Perron went to the box for interference at 19:38. The Sharks had the lead in shots 14-9, but overall, the period did not favor either team.
The conclusion of that Sharks’ power play started the second period. San Jose did not score, but the Blues could not clear the puck either. The Sharks did not even get a chance to change units until the penalty expired. Just as it did, Kevin Labanc was tripped, giving the Sharks another power play.
As the final seconds of the second power play wound down, the Sharks gained the zone and a Couture shot rebounded right up the slot for Karlsson. Karlsson picked a corner over Johnson’s shoulder and scored his first goal as a Shark. Assists went to Couture and Kane.
The Blues responded with furious energy in their offense. They got a three on one shortly after the goal, and then spent a long spell in the Sharks zone, thwarting efforts to clear the puck. They did not, however, get many shots on goal. It was the Sharks who scored next.
Pavelski went into the zone 2-on-1 with Timo Meier. He passed it to Meier for the shot, but Johnson stopped that. Pavelski got to the rebound just as he reached the goal line and muscled a shot past Jay Bouwmeester by the post. Assists went to Meier and Couture. It was Pavelski’s 12th goal of the season.
The Sharks did not wait long to stretch out their lead. 1:14 later, a pass off the rush from Karlsson found Kane in the slot as both skaters moved to the net. Kane took the shot for his seventh goal of the season. Assists went to Karlsson and Antti Suomela.
At the break that followed the third goal, the shots for the period were 11-2 San Jose. That count shifted a little as the period went on, with some important saves from Dell. The Blues in their own zone a couple of times, wearing them down so that a stop by Dell was the only option for relief. By the end of the period, the shots were 13-10 for the Sharks, or 7-2 Blues for the second half of the period.
That shot disparity carried on through the third period, with the Sharks only getting credit for two shots in the final frame. The Blues got 11 shots during the third, but the only goal was scored by Pavelski. Couture pushed his way across the blue line with the puck and created a two on one opportunity with Pavelski. Couture’s timely pass found Pavelski inside the faceoff dot with the goaltender still coming across the goal mouth. It was Pavelski’s 13th of the season. Assists went to Couture and Meier.
The Sharks next play Tuesday against the visiting Edmonton Oilers at 7:30 PM PT.