San Jose moved their win streak to three by topping the St. Louis Blues 2-0 behind a 29 save performance from Vesa Toskala. Ryane Clowe nailed the game-winner in the first period and Joe Pavelski added the insurance tally for his second tally in three NHL games.
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The Sharks were forced to skate one more game without Jonathan Cheechoo (leg) and Milan Michalek (arm), who are both still on the injured reserve list with day-to-day injuries.
San Jose opened the scoring just two minutes into the first period against Manny Legace. Clowe fed Curtis Brown in stride heading across the blue line and the veteran center put a simple shot on net that Legace stopped, but could not control. Clowe fought off his defender to take a crack at the puck and put it in between Legace’s pads for the early lead.
Team Teal posted six shots before the Blues put just one on Toskala.
Kyle McLaren nearly registered a hit on the Richter Scale, but Radek Dvorak , who was knocked to the ice by the collision, just avoided the entire force of the quickly closing McLaren.
The Blues put two strong offensive shifts up late in the first, but Toskala turned both away to take the 1-0 lead into the intermission. There were no penalties called in the opening 20 minutes.
San Jose started strong in the second as Joe Thornton
and Mark Bell attacked on a two-on-one rush that was stopped. Then Thornton fed Mike Grier for a breakaway, but his tally was prevented due to a highsticking penalty that would indirectly result in a Sharks goal though. Just six seconds into the man advantage, Joe Pavelski
ripped a shot from the slot and beat Legace inside the right post. The tally was Pavelski’s second goal in three NHL games.
Midway through the contest, Josh Gorges was forced to take a tripping penalty to prevent a breakaway and St. Louis went on their first power play of the game. Toskala and the Sharks penalty killers were up to the task and kept the lead at two.
Marleau, Bernier and Pavelski put together a strong shift when even strength play returned but, despite four shots from in close, could not add to the lead.
In the period’s final minute the Sharks peppered Legace with shots, but could not score again, leaving things 2-0 after 40 minutes.
San Jose continued their offensive charge early in the third and Legace continued to play big, robbing Clowe of his second goal on the night with a highlight level glove save.
Team Teal began found themselves on their second power play of the game with 14 minutes left in regulation, but could not get off the necessary quality shot.
With seven left in the third, the Sharks killed off a Blues power play that could have pulled the host club back within one. As the two minutes expired, Sharks fans had to watch a scary moment when Grier crashed into the boards without his helmet, opening up a cut on his head. Fortunately the talented penalty killer skated off on his own to the dressing room. He quickly returned to the bench while missing just one shift.
Toskala and the Sharks survived St. Louis pulling Legace for an extra attacker in the waning moments and finished of the 2-0 win.
The Sharks will play the second of back-to-back contests Wednesday at 5 p.m. against Minnesota. The game will be aired on Versus, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.