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Blues finish off season series with Sharks

by Brian Hunter

SHARKS (11-7-6) at BLUES (13-10-2)


Last 10: San Jose 4-3-3; St. Louis 4-5-1

Season series: Third and final meeting of the regular season. The road team has won each of the first two matchups. Tim Kennedy's goal with 6:58 remaining gave the Sharks a 2-1 win in St. Louis on Feb. 19, while Vladimir Sobotka recorded a hat trick and Patrik Berglund netted the shootout winner as the Blues prevailed 4-3 in San Jose on March 9.

Big story: Chicago and Anaheim have created separation from the rest of the pack in the Western Conference playoff race, leaving San Jose and St. Louis among the teams teetering perilously on the edge of the cutoff line. They've played two tight games already this season -- Tuesday doesn't figure to be any different.

Team Scope:

Sharks: After blowing a two-goal lead in the third period against St. Louis on Saturday afternoon, San Jose found itself on the comeback trail Sunday in Colorado. Down 2-0 in the last minute of the second period, the Sharks cut the deficit in half on Patrick Marleau's 400th career goal with 39.1 seconds remaining and drew even when Logan Couture tallied with 3:25 left in regulation. Antti Niemi stopped 39 of the first 41 shots he faced, but Matt Duchene beat the overtime buzzer with two-tenths of a second still on the clock and the Sharks suffered a tough 3-2 defeat.

"We have to start finding ways to win these games," Couture told the San Jose Mercury News. "[Saturday] we gave up a lead, [Sunday] we come back. One point is good, but you need to get two in this League."

Blues: It appeared St. Louis could be set up for its second big finish of the weekend when Berglund snapped a 1-1 tie with a power-play goal 1:41 into the third period Sunday in Anaheim. However, the Ducks -- who haven't lost a game at Honda Center since their home opener -- had other ideas. They blitzed the Blues for two goals over the next four minutes to capture the lead, and an empty-netter sealed the visitors' 4-2 loss. It was another tough night for a St. Louis goalie, as Jaroslav Halak finished with 18 saves on 21 shots.

Captain David Backes told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the rest of the team deserved the blame, though, for taking their foot off the gas: "And you can't do that, especially against a team with their potency up front. We did that and the result is hanging Jaro out to dry, who played a heck of a game for us."

Who's hot: Couture has goals in consecutive games for the Sharks. Niemi is second in the NHL in save percentage (.932) and fifth in goals-against average (1.96). … Berglund has four goals in the Blues' past three games.

Injury report: San Jose defenseman Brent Burns (lower body) is expected to be activated off injured reserve and dress as a forward. Goalie Thomas Greiss is day-to-day with a sore neck. Forward Martin Havlat is on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. … St. Louis forward Alexander Steen (upper body) is expected to rejoin the lineup. Forwards Jamie Langenbrunner (hip), Vladimir Tarasenko (concussion) and Andy McDonald (knee) are on injured reserve.

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