Blues get shut down by Sharks

News-DemocratOctober 15, 2013 

— So much for the St. Louis Blues' 10-game home winning streak, the 4-0 start and the red-hot power play.

Red-hot San Jose won this battle of unbeatens via a knockout Tuesday as they skated away with a dominant 6-2 victory over the Blues at Scottrade Center.

"A lot of times we say the score didn't indicate how the game was played," said Blues captain David Backes, whose team fell behind 5-0 and never recovered. "That score was right on. They took it to us."

The teams entered the game a combined 9-0, allowing just 14 goals. The lofty similarities ended quickly as the Sharks used relentless forechecking and tight defense to thwart the Blues all over the ice.

The Sharks (6-0) also flipped the switch on a Blues power play that led the NHL at a 6-for-16 clip before Tuesday. San Jose killed off all four Blues' power plays, including a short 5-on-3 advantage.

The Blues (4-1) were down 5-0 until Vladimir Tarasenko's fourth goal in four games broke up Antti Niemi's shutout bid at 7:23 of the third period.

Tarasenko buried the rebound of a shot by Jaden Schwartz and defenseman Roman Polak scored his 10th career goal with 7:32 remaining.

"They took another step up," said Backes, who was on the ice for four Sharks goals, including three at even strength. "They were skating better than any team we've played against, causing turnovers and making us move the puck before we wanted to.

"Whether it was their level that was up so high or ours that took a step back...they dominated the game.

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said a lack of discipline and composure contributed to the defeat, as did three San Jose power-play goals.

"Tonight's an example of when you don't hold your discipline and your competitive composure, how things can unravel," Hitchcock said. "That's what tonight's about. To me, they played the right way, they came in and played the right way and we didn't and we paid for it.

San Jose got two early power-play goals from Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski, then stretched the lead to 4-0 by the end of the second period on goals by Tommy Wingels and Scott Hannan.

A hit from behind on San Jose's Dan Boyle by Blues center Maxim Lapierre 5:22 into the opening period touched off a mini-brawl and led to four players winding up with game misconducts.

On the hit, Boyle's head and face appeared to hit the glass near the corner behind the Sharks net. He fell immediately to the ice, surrounded by teammates and medical personnel.

Boyle was taken off on a stretcher. Officials said he was taken to a local hospital and was alert and moving his extremities. He was scheduled to be kept overnight for further evaluation.

"No one in their right mind would ever want that to happen to another guy," Backes said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Dan Boyle and his family. That's a scary thing, it's something you hope never happens. Hopefully he has a speedy recovery and he's back on the ice soon."

Lapierre received five minutes for checking from behind and a game misconduct while Blues winger Ryan Reaves and San Jose's Andrew Desjardins and Matt Pelech all received game misconducts.

The Sharks gained quick revenge for the hit on Lapierre by taking a 2-0 lead on power-play goals by Couture and Pavelski less than a minute apart.

Couture took a backhand pass from Patrick Marleau and rifled a wrist shot past Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak from the bottom of the left faceoff circle.

Pavelski's goal came from nearly the same spot as he rocketed a one-timer past Halak, who allowed two goals on the first six shots he saw.

This was the same Halak that allowed only seven goals during a four-game winning streak to start the season.

Things got ugly again before the first period ended as San Jose's Brent Burns sent Blues winger Brenden Morrow into the boards from behind near the Blues bench.

Morrow went immediately to the dressing room for treatment while Burns received only a two-minute minor penalty for boarding.

Morrow later returned to start the second period.

The Sharks made it 3-0 in the second period when Wingels scored and Hannan made it 4-0 when his shot from the left circle trickled in through the pads of Halak.

Halak left after allowing four goals on 26 shots, replaced by backup Brian Elliott to start the third period.

Joe Thornton, who had a goal and two assists, made it 5-0 for San Jose five minutes into the third period before Tarasenko finally got the Blues on the scoreboard.

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, nsanders@bnd.com or on Twitter @NormSanders

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