GAME: St. Louis Blues at San Jose Sharks.
PLAYOFF SERIES: Western Conference quarterfinals; Sharks lead 1-0.
TIME: Saturday, 3 p.m. EDT.
St. Louis may be trailing in its playoff series with the San Jose Sharks,
but if the rest of the series is played like it was in Game 1, the Blues feel
like they have a chance for an upset.
The second-seeded Sharks look to take a 2-0 series lead over the
seventh-seeded Blues when the teams meet at HP Pavilion.
The Sharks are facing the Blues in the first round for the third time in
five seasons, and the rivalry is made particularly intense by the teams'
contrasting styles. San Jose plays a speed-based, disciplined game, while St.
Louis largely relies on its physical defense.
The teams played the defensive style the Blues prefer in Game 1 on Thursday,
but the Sharks were able to come away with a win when Niko Dimitrakos scored
9:16 into overtime to give San Jose a 1-0 victory.
Evgeni Nabokov stopped 26 shots to earn the second postseason shutout of his
career, playing flawlessly behind the Sharks' sturdy defense. He won a duel
with Chris Osgood, a former Stanley Cup winner who stopped the Sharks' first 28
"Both teams were coming pretty hard," Nabokov said. "They were shooting
from everywhere. We were shooting from everywhere. It was really intense."
"Both teams battled pretty hard," Osgood said. "It just came down to a
broken play, and the guy made a nice play."
Dimitrakos ended the scoreless game with an opportunity granted by the
Blues, who hesitated to play a puck in their own zone after Vincent Damphousse
made a hand pass.
Dimitrakos made a fake that froze the defense and drew Osgood slightly out
of position, followed by a tough shot over Osgood's shoulder to end his first
"I couldn't have dreamed this up any better," said Dimitrakos, who scored
nine goals in the regular season. "This is definitely the biggest thing I've
ever done in hockey. To score a goal in overtime is something that I dreamed
about, playing on the street."
The Blues have had trouble on the offensive end all season, having scored
just 191 goals - the fewest among playoff teams. But Keith Tkachuk said if they
play another strong defensive game on Saturday, they just may be able to go
back to St. Louis with the series tied.
"You definitely want the first game, and we had our chances," Tkachuk
said. "We couldn't find that second or third effort to put it in. That was the
difference. These are the games we want to play: good technical, defensive
San Jose upset top-seeded St. Louis in 2000, but the Blues beat the Sharks
one year later.
The series moves to St. Louis for Games 3 and 4 on Monday and Tuesday.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Blues - 91 points; 7th seed. Sharks - 104 points; 2nd
PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Blues - Doug Weight, 4 PIM. Sharks - Dimitrakos, 1
goal and 4 PIM; Damphousse and Scott Hannan, 1 assist; Dimitrakos, Damphousse
and Hannan, 1 point.
PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Blues - Power play: 0.0 percent (0 for 5). Penalty
killing: 100 percent (4 for 4). Sharks - Power play: 0.0 percent (0 for 4).
Penalty killing: 100 percent (5 for 5).
GOALTENDERS: Blues - Osgood (0-1, 0.87 GAA); Reinhard Divis (no
appearances). Sharks - Nabokov (1-0, 1 SO, 0.00); Vesa Toskala (no
REGULAR SEASON SERIES: 2-2. San Jose outscored St. Louis 4-1 en route to
winning the last two games of the series. Marco Sturm had three goals in the
four games for the Sharks, while Chris Pronger had a goal and two assists for