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Sharks take advantage of late-arriving Blues

by Louie Korac

ST. LOUIS -- The travel-weary St. Louis Blues tried to will their way to two points.

But the San Jose Sharks had other ideas. They had problems of their own.

On a day when the Blues arrived 12-1/2 hours prior to the puck drop against the Sharks -- 14 hours after they were scheduled to arrive -- because of mechanical issues with the team's charter flight out of Vancouver, the Blues had steam early but ran out late.

Tim Kennedy's goal with 6:58 remaining was the difference when the Sharks ended a seven-game winless skid with a 2-1 victory over the Blues on Tuesday night at Scottrade Center, stopping St. Louis' three-game winning streak.

Kennedy, who got his second goal in three games played, fired a shot from a sharp angle inside the left circle that squirted through Jake Allen into the goal.

Joe Thornton also scored for the Sharks, who came in 0-4-3 in seven games after starting the season 7-0-0.

"We finally got a fluke goal that went our way," said Thornton, whose goal tied the game in the second period. "It was nice to get out of a streak like that."

Kennedy might have caught Allen off-guard.

"The puck came off the wall. You can't score if you don't shoot," Kennedy said. "I don't know how that quite went through [Allen], but it's a goal."

Sharks coach Todd McLellan, who said Tuesday morning his team had "absolutely no excuse about not being able to out-work or at least be able to out-compete that team all over the rink or attempt to," because of the Blues' travel troubles, called Kennedy "a spark plug."

"He's got some offensive instincts," McLellan said. "He's a very competitive guy ... not the biggest guy in the world (5-foot-10, 175), but he battles."

Allen, who was 3-0-0 since being recalled from the American Hockey League, said an unfortunate play went against the Blues.

"It was a bit of a knuckler, sort of wobbled on me and I didn't even know it squeaked through me," Allen said. "That's the way the game goes. Those things happen sometimes. I wish it didn't. Tough way to go down.

"It's unfortunate what happened yesterday [with the team's travel], but we can't use it as an excuse. It happened. We're here tonight to play. We had our moments, but we weren't as consistent as we were on the road. Hopefully, we bounce back and get that back tomorrow [at Colorado]."

Patrik Berglund got the Blues rolling with a goal, but they couldn't get much else mustered. It was their fifth straight loss at home (0-4-1), something that hasn't happened since dropping five in a row from Dec. 18, 2009-Jan. 2, 2010.

Despite the struggles to travel 2,200-plus miles from Vancouver, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock voiced his displeasure with his team's game recently on home ice.

"This is common [to] what we've been doing the last four or five games at home. It's the same stuff," Hitchcock said. "Too many passengers. Too many people not pulling their weight. Too much skill ahead of work on certain guys ... same guys. Night-in and night-out at home. We don't do it on the road, but we do it at home.

"We're not good enough, we're not skilled enough to play that way, but that's what happened. When you put skill ahead of work, maybe you get away with it a little bit, but to do it constantly, too many guys want the game to be a little bit easier. That's the difference."

The Blues were a bit sluggish at the start but were able to get through a pair of early penalty kills. Allen made some key stops, including one on Joe Pavelski in the slot after a turnover less than two minutes into the game.

The Blues held the Sharks without a shot over the final 10:19 of the first period and built a 1-0 lead when Berglund, who has a goal in a career-best four straight, scored his team-leading ninth of the season 12:54 into the game.

Vladimir Sobotka was able to curl around the San Jose goal and thread a pass to Berglund in the low slot, and the center was able to push it under Antti Niemi's right arm.

Thornton's first goal in 10 games tied it for the Sharks, when he collected a rebound off Dan Boyle's shot from the slot 3:55 into the second period. It was the Sharks' first regular-season goal in St. Louis since Devin Setoguchi scored on Dec. 18, 2010, a span of 148:51.

The Sharks held the Blues without a shot for much of the third period and were able to limit the pressure around Niemi, who made 25 saves.

"We thought with their travel problems yesterday, we wanted to wear them down a little," Thornton said of the Blues, who play the Avalanche on Wednesday Night Rivalry presented by Coors Light (9 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

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