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Sharks try to extend domination of Blues

by John Kreiser /

BLUES (1-2-0) at SHARKS (1-1-0)

TV: FS-Midwest (HD); CSN-California (HD)

Season Series: It's the first of four meetings between the Western Conference rivals. The Sharks went 3-1-0 last season, winning the last three games and outscoring the Blues 13-6. San Jose is 13-2-2 in the last 17 meetings.

Big Story: Both teams are coming into this game off losses. The Blues fell 3-2 in Dallas on Thursday, then flew to San Jose and watched the Sharks drop a 1-0 decision in Anaheim on Friday night. It was the Sharks' first game since last Saturday when they opened with a 6-3 rout of Phoenix.

Team Scope:

Blues: After splitting two games at home, St. Louis began a stretch that will see the Blues play nine of 11 games on the road with the loss in Dallas on Thursday. The Blues dominated the second half of the game, but paid the price for a slow start that saw the Stars grab a 3-0 lead midway through the second period.

"They had the jump on us at the start," center Alex Steen said. "By the second period, I thought we got back to our game and started taking over little by little. I thought the way we were playing, we were going to equalize."

Sharks: For all their talent and ability to generate chances, the Sharks sometimes exhibit a curious inability to finish. That was the case Friday night in Anaheim, where they carried the play for most of the night but lost 1-0 to the Ducks despite completely shutting down Anaheim's top line.

"I didn't think our team was particularly sharp," coach Todd McLellan said. "I thought we bobbled a lot of pucks -- it showed up on the power play, where the passing was off and the shot selection wasn't real good. We've got some work to do, and it's a good thing we play right away again (Saturday)."

Who's Hot: Steen and newcomer Jason Arnott have three points in the first three games. Arnott and Chris Stewart are tops with two goals. … Thomas Greiss, the Sharks' No. 3 goaltender, has allowed just four goals in splitting the first two games.

Injury Report: No. 1 center Andy McDonald was sent home to St. Louis to see team doctors after sustaining a head injury in Dallas. McDonald missed 24 games last season with a concussion. Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo (head) is on IR, as is forward B.J. Crombeen (broken shoulder). David Perron (concussion) is still sidelined from the concussion stemming from a hit by Sharks captain Joe Thornton last Dec. 1. … Sharks starter Antti Niemi dressed for the first time on Friday following offseason surgery to remove a cyst in his knee. Forward Martin Havlat (shoulder surgery) has yet to play this season. Backup goaltender Antero Niittymaki (abdominal surgery) is a couple of months from returning.

Stat Pack: The 24 shots allowed by the Blues was the most they've surrendered in a game this season. Overall, St. Louis has outshot its opponents 106-57 in its three games this season. ... The 1-0 shutout loss to the Ducks was the second by the Sharks in calendar year 2011.

Puck Drop: The best news for the Sharks has been the play of Greiss, who's had a couple of brief interludes with the team and spent last season playing in Europe before returning. With both Niemi and Niittymaki on the shelf, he's given the Sharks a pair of solid performances.

"He's very patient with his career," McLellan said. "He's worked very hard to earn the opportunity to play here. His performance right from training camp has been very strong, and we're happy."

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