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Sharks hope to continue recent surge against Blues

by Brian Hunter /

SHARKS (13-4-3) at BLUES (6-7-4)

Last 10 -- San Jose 8-0-2; St. Louis 3-4-3

Season series -- First of four meetings this season. The home team won all four in 2008-09, with the Sharks taking a pair of 5-4 wins at HP Pavilion -- the first one courtesy of a Ryane Clowe shootout goal -- and the Blues responding later in the season with two victories at the Scottrade Center, including a shootout win of their own thanks to Brad Winchester.

Big story -- It was an uneven start to the season for San Jose, but 10 straight games with at least one point have vaulted the Sharks back into the lead for the Presidents' Trophy, which they are attempting to defend. St. Louis finds itself at the opposite end of the spectrum, with the third-fewest points in the Western Conference and trying to get out of the Central Division basement, where the Blues fell after losing at home to Nashville on Thursday.

Team Scope:

Sharks -- Although the point streak continued, San Jose couldn't have been very pleased with Thursday's outcome, as Dallas rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period and won at the Shark Tank in a shootout, 3-2. Still, it was hardly cause for panic in the Sharks locker room.

"We were up by two and we're a pretty good third period team," Clowe said. "We just wanted to get that extra point."

Blues -- It's imperative that St. Louis figure out how to win consistently on home ice, as it's in the middle of a six-game stretch at the Scottrade Center. The Blues used a four-goal first period to rout Vancouver 6-1 on Tuesday, but followed that up with a clunker against Nashville, losing 3-1 as the Predators jumped over them into fourth.

"To play well one night and not the next night, it's something that's got to stop," forward Brad Boyes said. "Our work ethic has got to be a lot better."

Who's hot -- San Jose defenseman Dan Boyle has two goals, four points and a plus-6 rating in his last three games. Forward Joe Pavelski has two goals and five points in three games since returning from injury.

Boyes has scored in consecutive games for St. Louis and has five points over that stretch. David Perron has four goals and five points in his last three games while Andy McDonald has two goals and five points in that same span.

Injury report -- San Jose captain Rob Blake is likely to miss several weeks with an upper-body injury, while forward Jody Shelley has missed consecutive games due to general soreness.

St. Louis is still missing forwards D.J. King (broken right hand) and Alexander Steen (broken wrist) for the foreseeable future.

Stat pack -- San Jose had won seven straight games in St. Louis before going 0-1-1 there last season. Blues goalie Chris Mason has a 2.29 goals-against average this season, but has not fared well historically against the Sharks, going 1-6-1 with a 3.14 GAA in eight starts and nine overall appearances.

Puck drop -- St. Louis coach Andy Murray had strong words for his team after its last game, perhaps trying to spark the players for San Jose's visit.

"I've had a lot of losses as a coach," he said. "That ranks right up there because of the way we played."

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