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Sharks Escape With Important 6-5 Victory Over Blues

by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks
Despite allowing three, third period goals, the San Jose Sharks escaped from St. Louis with the 6-5 victory and two points on Tuesday night. With the victory, the Sharks pulled within one point of the Anaheim Ducks, who were shutout by the struggling Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night 2-0.
 
Click here for video highlights from Tuesday’s game.

 
After failing to score a goal for 60 minutes in a 1-0 loss to the Blues back on Jan. 20, the Sharks wasted no time putting the puck in the net on Tuesday night in St. Louis. Ryane Clowe got the scoring started just 39 seconds into the opening frame, taking a brilliant feed from Joe Thornton and casually sliding the puck past Blues goaltender Manny Legace for the early 1-0 lead.
 
Instead of settling into their early 1-0 advantage, the Sharks continued with their relentless pressure in the Blues zone. Mark Bell nearly made it 2-0 just two minutes into the game with a nifty spin move, but fired the puck just wide. On his very next shift, Bell again drove to the net, forcing Dallas Drake into an interference penalty.
 
Matt Carle would cash in on the ensuing power play that Bell drew, chipping a rebound past Legace for the 2-0 lead. Jonathan Cheechoo fired a shot towards the Blues goal and Carle cleaned up the rebound for his sixth goal of the year with 13:09 left in the first.
 
Clowe and Jamal Mayers dropped the gloves with 10:17 left in the first, leaving Clowe an assist shy of a Gordie Howe hat trick just ten minutes into the game. Clowe knocked down Mayers with at flurry of rights, pulled Mayers back up to his feet, then knocked him down again. Though Clowe earned the decision, he exited the ice after the scrap.
 
After a short trip to the locker room, Clowe emerged with a taped finger and then returned to the penalty box to finish serving his fighting major.
 
With 6:45 to play in the first, St. Louis’ lone All-Star Bill Guerin got the Blues on the scoreboard, converting on the power play while Marcel Goc served a holding the stick minor. Guerin beat Toskala on the short side with a laser targeted for the top corner to make it a 2-1 game.
 
Just 33 seconds after Guerin made it a one-goal game, Mike Grier responded in a big way. Captain Patrick Marleau broke into the St. Louis zone down the boards with space and time. Marleau slid a perfect pass to the back post where Grier redirected it past Legace for the 3-1 lead.
 
San Jose would take that 3-1 lead to the locker room after 20 minutes of play.
 
Like they did in the first, San Jose opened the second period with hard work in the offensive zone as they established a steady forecheck and cycling game. After four minutes of sustained pressure in the St. Louis zone, the Sharks forced the Blues into another costly penalty.
 
Needing just 30 seconds of the power play, Thornton set up from his usual spot on the half-boards and rifled a shot right past Legace’s glove hand, giving the Sharks the 4-1 lead and chasing the Blues goaltender from his cage. Curtis Sanford relieved Legace who surrendered four goals on just 12 shots in just over 24 minutes of work.
 
On the puck drop following Thornton’s goal, Scott Parker and D.J. King dropped the gloves for the game’s second fight. Each player threw haymakers, but neither was able to land a debilitating blow as the fight ended in a draw.
 
With 13:47 to play in the second, Marleau made it a 5-1 game on a tic-tac-toe passing play that saw linemates Michalek, Grier and Marleau all get in on the action; Marleau head-manned the puck to Michalek who dropped the puck to Grier who found a streaking Marleau for the four-goal lead.
 
With 11:07 remaining, St. Louis cut the Sharks lead back to three as Guerin scored his second of the game on a brilliant toe-drag snap shot. Guerin pushed the puck up the ice after an offensive zone turnover, then snapped the puck past Toskala who was distracted with heavy traffic crashing the net.
 
Two and a half minutes after Guerin’s strike, Cheechoo buried one of his own. Taking a cross-ice feed from Thornton, Cheechoo moved in alone on the right wing, wound up and after a huge shot fake, bombed a perfectly placed wrist shot top shelf. Sanford had no chance on the play as the Sharks ran their lead to 6-2.
 
As he did after Marleau’s goal, Guerin again responded for the Blues. With 7:55 to go in the second, Guerin completed the hat trick. After a St. Louis bounce on a blocked shot, Guerin found himself with a wide-open net to Toskala’s right and made no mistake in depositing his third of the game behind the Sharks netminder making it 6-3.
 
Both teams would earn their chances in the final seven minutes as the period closed with the Sharks leading 6-3 after two periods of play.
 
Guerin’s goal with eight minutes to go in the second proved to be the building block for the St. Louis third. With 13:38 to go in regulation, Keith Tkachuk forced his way to the Sharks goal and banged home a wobbling puck in the San Jose crease. Tkachuk’s goal gave life to the Blues and made it a 6-4 game.
 
With 5:57 to go in the third, Christian Backman made it a very interesting game banging home a loose puck to make it 6-5. The Blues clearly had all the momentum in the game, but still had work to do to complete the comeback.
 
On the ensuing rush after the Blues made it a one-goal game, Toskala made the save of the game on a tricky redirection. Toskala’s save temporarily preserved the 6-5 Sharks lead.
 
With 2:03 remaining, Michalek took a costly tripping penalty 200 feet away from his own goal. The winger was in deep on the forecheck and got his stick into the Blues defender who fell to the ice. The penalty effectively gave the Blues a power play for the remainder of regulation.
 
But the Sharks penalty killers, lead by Toskala, stood on their heads and preserved the important 6-5 win.
 
SHARK BYTES
Up until Keith Tkachuk’s goal in the third period, Bill Guerin had scored four consecutive goals for St. Louis against the Sharks dating back to the 1-0 shutout win by the Blues in San Jose on Jan. 20, scoring the lone goal in that game for the Blues and the first three on Tuesday night for St. Louis… With four points each on the night, both Jonathan Cheechoo (1-3=4) and Joe Thornton (1-3=4) extended their point streaks. Cheechoo (5-4=9) ran his streak to four games while Thornton (1-11=12) ran his streak to six games… Curtis Sanford was hit for the loss on Tuesday night despite only playing 15 minutes in relief work for Manny Legace. Sanford, who relieved Legace in the second after the Sharks made it 4-1, was scored on twice, one of which was Cheechoo’s eventual game winner. Legace returned to the nets in the third after Sanford was shaken up.
 
LINEUP
Kyle McLaren (knee) made his return to the Sharks lineup while Mark Smith (groin) and Joe Pavelski (foot) remained sidelined. Evgeni Nabokov (groin) who celebrated the birth of his son on Monday did not make the trip to St. Louis but is expected to join the team in Nashville on Wednesday.
 
Michalek – Marleau – Grier
Clowe – Thornton – Cheechoo
Rissmiller – Brown – Bell
Goc – Parker
 
Hannan – Vlasic
Carle – McLaren
Gorges – Ehrhoff
Murray
 
Toskala – Schaefer
 
NEXT GAME
The Sharks continue on their season-long, eight-game road trip as they travel to Nashville to take on NHL-leading Predators on Wednesday night. Game time is set for 5:00 PM and will be broadcast on FSN Bay Area, KFOX 98.5 FM, Sharks Radio Network affiliates and SJSHARKS.com.
 
FINAL 1 2 3 T
San Jose   3 3 0 6
St Louis   1 2 2 5
Video Highlights 
Official Scoresheet Official Super Stats
Boxscore Faceoffs
Play-by-Play Shift Chart
Rosters TOI - SJS|STL
SJS: CLOWE, R. (00:39 in 1st), CARLE, M. (PPG, 06:51 in 1st), GRIER, M. (13:48 in 1st), THORNTON, J. (PPG, 04:40 in 2nd), MARLEAU, P. (06:13 in 2nd), CHEECHOO, J. (11:30 in 2nd)
STL: GUERIN, B. (PPG, 13:15 in 1st), GUERIN, B. (08:53 in 2nd), GUERIN, B. (12:05 in 2nd), TKACHUK, K. (06:22 in 3rd), BACKMAN, C. (14:03 in 3rd)
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