If Tuesday was any indication of what San Jose can do when given a few days off, the slumping St. Louis Blues could be in for a long Saturday night when they host the well-rested Sharks.
San Jose (27-4-3) returns from the holiday break looking for its 15th win in 18 games and eighth straight victory in St. Louis.
Three days after defeating the New York Rangers 3-2 to snap a two-game skid, San Jose set a franchise mark in Tuesday's 5-0 win over Vancouver by scoring all five goals in the opening 20:43.
Patrick Marleau scored a goal and recorded two assists while Devin Setoguchi and Joe Thornton both had a goal and an assist as the Sharks notched their most lopsided shutout since defeating Phoenix 6-0 on Nov. 15, 2007.
Thornton, who has three goals and seven assists in nine career games in St. Louis, is five points shy of reaching 800 in his 11-year career.
"It's kind of hard to come back from a 3-0 deficit when it's bing-bang-boom, right off the start," said Setoguchi, who had a goal and two assists in two victories over the Blues earlier this season. "We knew what they were feeling like, and we put it right on them from the start. You look over at their bench and they've got long faces and they're holding their heads down, and that's what you want."
The Sharks are scoring 3.47 goals per game - fifth in the NHL - but they're averaging 4.20 goals in games with two or more days of rest. San Jose has gone 9-1-0 in such contests, losing only at Anaheim 4-0 on Oct. 17.
San Jose has hosted St. Louis twice this season on just one day of rest, but won both of those games - 5-4 in a shootout on Nov. 6 and 5-4 on Dec. 13.
Even with an NHL-leading 57 points and a remarkable 18-0-2 home record, the Sharks are not satisfied as they play six of their next seven on the road.
"Everybody is looking for that perfect game, and I think we can do a little better job pushing for that next one, but I think we're happy," said Marleau, who has four goals and four assists in his last seven games against the Blues.
With seven losses in its last eight games, St. Louis (13-18-3) is anything but happy. In Tuesday's 4-1 loss to Detroit, the Blues dropped their second in a row as they went 0-of-6 on the power play, failing to convert a 5-on-3 advantage in the first period.
"They took advantage of their special teams and we didn't," said Keith Tkachuk, who had a power-play goal in the Blues' loss to San Jose on Nov. 6.
St. Louis ranks ninth in the league, converting 21.4 percent of its power plays, but has made just 5-of-39 during its 1-7-0 slide. San Jose, meanwhile, has not allowed a power-play goal since Blues left winger Brad Winchester scored in the first-period in the teams' Dec. 13 matchup.
St. Louis scored four times against Evgeni Nabokov in each of the teams' meetings this season, however, Nabokov is 2-0-0 with a 1.00 GAA in his last two starts. He is 4-2-0 in his career in St. Louis, including a 26-save effort on Dec. 28, 2007, as the Sharks won 1-0.
San Jose has shut out the Blues four times in its last five games in St. Louis.