It was a multi-goal kind of night at HP Pavilion Thursday when the Sharks defeated the St. Louis Blues by the score of 5-2. The Sharks had not one, but two two-goal game performances in front of the hometown crowd as they went on to earn their seventh consecutive victory at the Shark Tank.
It was Tom Preissing who started things off for Team Teal towards the end of the second period. After being down a goal within the first two minutes of the game, Preissing fired a slapshot from the slot that Blues goaltender Patrick Lalime couldn’t get good vision of, tying the game at one.
Preissing wouldn’t stop there, however. The Sharks blueliner fired a similar shot midway through the second period that caught Lalime off guard yet again and tied the game at two. For Preissing it was his first two-goal game of his young career.
“It was just kind of one of those days where everywhere I turned, the puck was just coming to me at a soft speed,” said Preissing. “Those games don’t happen too often, so when they do, you are happy and you just go with it.”
The Sharks came out slowly in the first, but they didn’t let a St. Louis goal 1:19 into the contest affect the outcome of the game.
“We did come out sluggish, but we regrouped in the locker room and talked about how we needed this game,” added Preissing. “We came out with a lot better effort in the final two periods.”
For Preissing, the night was a little bit more special than it normally would be, as his sister and nephew were in town watching their favorite Shark.
“My sister and nephew are in town, so it’s fun to be able to score some goals for them,” said Preissing. “It’s fun for my nephew, getting to be around the locker room. I think he’s a bit too young to really take it all in, but he loves it because he’ll come in here and guys will shoot tape balls on him while he plays goalie.”
Not to be outdone by his fellow teammate, Steve Bernier wanted in on the scoring fun too Thursday night. The rookie winger notched two goals of his own in the contest, giving him five goals in his last five games, including his second multi-goal game in his last four starts.
On Bernier’s first goal, Patrick Marleau
single handedly changed the momentum of the game when he saved a goal from slipping past Toskala, turned up ice and created an odd man rush that led to Bernier’s fifth goal of the season. With that goal the Sharks ended the Blues streak of 22 consecutive successful penalty kills.
“That was a big goal for us tonight, said Bernier. “I think that gave us the advantage and shifted the momentum on our side for the rest of the game. They had to take a time out and after that play everybody went in the same direction and we kept scoring goals.”
“That was kind of a turning point for us,” said Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson. “We were having a bad shift and kind of got lucky. Patty was in the right spot, but their guy whiffed on it. If he fired it he would have scored. Instead of being down 3-2 we found ourselves up 3-2, so we caught a bit of a break there. That seemed to get us going obviously. A young team like that, that will rattle their cage.”
St. Louis’ cage was definitely rattled, as just six minutes after Bernier’s tally, the red-hot Jonathan Cheechoo scored his 41st goal of the season, extending his point streak to five games, where he has notched six goals and two assists.
“The big thing for us is to know that the game isn’t over in the first five minutes even though they scored,” said Vesa Toskala, who improved his record to 13-6-2. “Everyone knows to keep their head up, keep playing and be smart and that’s what we did.”
Next up for the Sharks are two tough home games in a row. On Saturday they will take on the Pacific Division leading Dallas Stars at 1 p.m. at HP Pavilion. The following evening they will play host to the Colorado Avalanche at 5 p.m.
IT’S A BOY!
Nils and Johanna Ekman announced today the birth of their first child, Melvin. Born on Thursday, March 16 at approximately 10:30 a.m., both Johanna and Melvin are doing fine. Ekman is expected to be back in the lineup Saturday against Dallas.