St. Louis Blues defenseman Nick Leddy, left, and defenseman Justin Faulk, right, battle for the puck against the San Jose Sharks left winger Rudolfs Balcers (92) in second period action at the SAP Center in San Jose on Thu Apr 21, 2022 (AP News photo)
By Mary Walsh
SAN JOSE- The San Jose Sharks the St. Louis Blues Thursday at SAP Center. Dakota Joshua, Robert Thomas and Pavel Buchnevich scored for the Blues. Jordan Binnington made 20 saves for the win. Noah Gregor scored for San Jose and James Reimer made 25 saves in the loss. It was likely to be a tough game for the Sharks. The Blues have now won ten of their last eleven games and the Sharks have lost ten of their last eleven.
After the game, Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner said:
“You know, it was a challenge for us tonight, to try and match them. And you know there was times I thought we did a decent job but you’re not going to win a game scoring one goal and you’re not going to win against these guys if the power plays are 5-1 at the end of the night and you certainly aren’t going to win against these guys unless you’re best players are your best players. And all three of those things didn’t happen.”
Boughner talked about the development of forward Noah Gregor, who scored his sixth goal of the season Thursday, and his second in three games: “Noah’s now into his third year pro and you can see the switch starting to go on and it’s definitely a process and he’s no different than a lot of the guys.”
Gregor talked about playing the last few games on a line with Rudolfs Balcers and Thomas Bordeleau: “It’s been working out pretty well for us. Me and [Rudolfs] are pretty north and south and [Bordeleau] is able to make plays to us and hit us with speed and so far in the games we’ve played together we’ve played pretty solid.” The trio have eight points between them in the last three games.
Gregor scored to give the Sharks a lead 3:05 into the first period. Rudolfs Balcers lifted the puck into the zone and Gregor caught up with it in the circle before taking a quick shot that went under Binnington. Assists went to Balcers and Brent Burns.
It did not take long, a little more that two minutes of play, for Dakota Joshua to tie the game. Logan Brown chased the puck down near the goal line and then passed it back to Joshua for the shot. Assists went to Brown and Nathan Walker.
The Sharks took two penalties in the first period. They gave up two shots to the Blues power play and had one short-handed shot.
The shot count for the period close, 11-9 Blues.
Robert Thomas gave the Blues the lead 31 seconds into the second period with a power play goal. Tarasenko found Thomas across the ice with a pass and Thomas had a lot of space and time to get the shot away. Assists went to Tarasenko and Pavel Buchnevich.
The Sharks had only five shots on goal in the second period. They had two penalties to kill in addition the carryover penalty from the first period, in which the Blues scored. They gave up four shots to the Blues power play and had one short-handed shot. The Sharks power play had two shots. That left just two shots at even strength from the Sharks.
The Sharks pulled Reimer for the extra skater with a little under two minutes left but could not maintain control of the puck. Eventually, they gave up an empty-net goal from Buchnevich. The assist went to Brayden Schenn.
The Sharks had one penalty to kill in the third period. They gave up no shots to the Blues and had two short-handed shots. The shot count for the period was close again, 8-7 Blues. The Sharks won 53% of the face-offs. Notably, Thomas Bordeleau improved to 60% in ten draws. Matt Nieto led the team in shots with four.
The Sharks next play on Saturday at home against the Chicago Blackhawks at 5:00 PM PT.