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game recap

Vladimir Tarasenko, Blues stifle Sharks

St. Louis completes regular-season sweep with win at San Jose

by Eric Gilmore / NHL.com Correspondent

SAN JOSE -- Vladimir Tarasenko scored two goals to help the St. Louis Blues to a 4-1 win against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Thursday.

Scottie Upshall and Zach Sanford also scored for the Blues (37-28-5), who won all three regular-season games against the Sharks. They are four points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

Carter Hutton made 19 saves in his 19th start and is 4-0-1 against San Jose.

 

WATCH: All Blues vs. Sharks highlights

 

Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored and Aaron Dell made 32 saves for the Sharks (42-21-7), who are seven points ahead of the Anaheim Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division.

St. Louis, playing the second game of a back-to-back, won for the sixth time in its past seven games and outshot San Jose 36-20. The Sharks matched their season-low for shots on goal.

Video: STL@SJS: Tarasenko crashes net, notches PPG

"[Wednesday] night it was a close game, but we weren't really happy with the way things went," Blues coach Mike Yeo said of their 2-1 loss to the Ducks. "We knew that we left something on the table. So we asked for a response today and the guys more than delivered."

St. Louis took a 1-0 lead at 16:40 of the first period when Upshall capitalized on a turnover by Brent Burns in the neutral zone and scored an unassisted goal from the right circle.

"You want to get on them early," Upshall said. "You want to show them you're here to play and you have your legs."

Dell had won four straight starts before losing his first career start against St. Louis.

Video: STL@SJS: Vlasic's pass deflects in off a defender

"They came out hard," Dell said. "I knew they were going to be pretty desperate. I don't think we matched their desperation level tonight."

Vlasic tied it when his pass from the point banked off Carl Gunnarson's skate in the slot and went between Hutton's glove and left pad to make it 1-1 at 17:45 of the first.

Sanford gave the Blues a 2-1 lead at 5:49 of the second period with his first goal since being traded by the Washington Capitals on Feb. 27. Sanford, playing his second game with the Blues, took a rebound off the end boards below the left circle and beat Dell with a sharp-angled shot to the far side.

Video: STL@SJS: Hutton uses his stick to stone Marleau

Tarasenko scored a power-play goal on a rebound from close range at 8:34 of the third to make it 3-1. Dell made a glove save of Alexander Steen's shot but couldn't control the rebound.

Tarasenko scored an empty-net goal at 18:10 to make it 4-1. He has 34 goals this season.

 
Goal of the game

Sanford was in perfect position at the left side of the net, where Jay Bouwmeester's shot bounced off the end boards to him. He elevated a wrist shot into the upper right corner.

"I saw it coming the whole way," Sanford said. "I didn't know if it was ever going to make it to me. It slowed up a little there at the end, but it ended up getting there in time."

Video: STL@SJS: Sanford buries a puck off the boards

 
Save of the game

Sharks forward Joe Pavelski, who had seven goals in his previous five games, took a wide-open wrist shot from the right circle, but Hutton got his pads down and made the save at 18:47 of the first period.

Video: STL@SJS: Hutton shuts his pads to rob Pavelski

 
Unsung performance of the game

Forward Ryan Reaves led the Blues with four hits and also blocked two shots. He was plus-1 in 11:09 of ice time.

 

Highlight of the game

Upshall got St. Louis off to a fast start when he got to a loose puck in the neutral zone and beat Dell through the 5-hole with a wrist shot from 46 feet.

Video: STL@SJS: Upshall wires home wrister to open scoring

 
They said it

"I thought we played great. I thought similar to last game up here, we didn't really give up a whole heck of a lot. I thought we made some big plays. The power play came through huge, some separation, and from there we locked it down. I didn't really give up much second chances, and in the third we kind of lulled them to sleep there." -- Blues goalie Carter Hutton

 

"I thought we looked tired out there, sluggish, we just didn't have any jump up front. I think a lot of it was on us. This stretch for us is a difficult one, eight games in 12 days. This month has been pretty nuts, but every team goes through it. We need to get rested tomorrow and get our legs back for the game on Saturday. We need to force the play on their end." -- Sharks center Logan Couture

 
Need to know

Sharks defenseman David Schlemko (lower body) missed his seventh straight game, and forward Melker Karlsson (lower body) his third straight. ... After replacing an injured Dmitrij Jaskin against Anaheim, Blues forward Nail Yakupov was a healthy scratch. Sanford took his spot on the third line.

 
What's next

Blues: At the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday (9 p.m. ET; FS-MW, FS-A, NHL.TV)

Sharks: Host the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday (10:30 p.m. ET; PRIME, CSN-CA, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Tarasenko, Hutton lead Blues past Sharks, 4-1

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