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Sharks stun Blues 2-1 on Heatley OT goal

by John Kreiser
For the second time in three nights, the San Jose Sharks pelted the opposing goaltender with pucks. This time, though, all those shots paid off in a victory.

Dany Heatley's breakaway goal with 54 seconds left in overtime -- San Jose's 44th shot of the night -- gave the Sharks a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night.

The Sharks lost 6-2 to Los Angeles on Monday despite outshooting the Kings 47-20. They were nearly beaten again by Chris Mason, who finished with 42 saves and stood on his head -- but it wasn't quite enough for the Blues, who lost their sixth in a row.

"I go back to the L.A. game, and this one wasn't a lot different," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "We had the same energy, the same jump. Physically we were involved. The difference is that we brought our minds to the game tonight, and the other thing is that we were patient. We stuck with the game plan for 64 minutes -- whatever it took. It was a good recovery for us."

The Sharks won despite their continuing offensive problems. Evgeni Nabokov made 28 saves and gave his team a chance to come back.

"You never like to lose two games in a row," said defenseman Dan Boyle, whose pass set up Patrick Marleau's game-tying power-play goal with 7:19 left in regulation. "We were in their end a lot and got a lot of chances, but we're not putting the puck in the net.

"Most goalies in this League will stop what they see. We have to work on getting more traffic to the net."

The teams appeared headed for a shootout before Heatley blocked a shot at the left point by Andy McDonald and outraced two Blues before beating Mason from 10 feet with a high wrister for his 25th goal of the season.

"I played with Mase in the World Championships last spring, so he's got a little idea what I like to do," Heatley said. "It was more of a split-second shot."

Heatley is known for his scoring touch rather than his speed, and McLellan said he wasn't sure Heatley would win the race to the net.

"I was surprised he was able to pull away," he said. "He was at the back end of a shift and we were trying to get him off the ice."

It was an especially tough outcome for McDonald, who scored the Blues' lone goal and had several other excellent chances.

"Andy McDonald has the puck and he's one shin pad away from getting it to the net and being a great chance for us," Blues interim coach Davis Payne said. "He won two battles and set up a couple of scoring chances for us. He had the shot, but unfortunately it was the wrong spot.

"We were there. We were at the point that the second point that we were after was in grasp. We have to find a way to make sure we put ourselves in that position tomorrow night (in Anaheim)."

The victory, the Sharks' ninth in 10 games, gave San Jose 63 points, tying the Sharks with Chicago for first place in the overall standings. The loss was the second in as many games for the Blues under Payne, who got the job Saturday after Andy Murray was fired.

"San Jose played with some purpose to their game, obviously responding from their last game," Payne said. "I really liked what we were trying to accomplish. There were some moments there through the first couple of periods where we executed some offensive opportunities the way we wanted to."

After a scoreless first period, the Blues took the lead when McDonald scored a power-play goal at 6:45 of the second period, just 13 seconds after Douglas Murray was sent off for high sticking. McDonald was pushed into Nabokov during the power play and they both went to the ice -- but he got up faster and slipped the puck into the net. It was McDonald's seventh goal in eight games and 14th of the season.

Mason made the goal stand up by stopping the Sharks' first 36 shots. But he was beaten on the 37th -- a one-timer from the high slot by Marleau at 12:51 of the third period on San Jose's fourth power play of the night. Marleau took a perfect pass from Boyle and ripped it through traffic and past Mason's glove for his 28th goal of the season, tying the Rangers' Marian Gaborik for the League lead.

"Marleau made a great shot," a disappointed Payne said.

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