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Blues get OT win over Sharks, hat trick from Sobotka

The SportsXchange

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Vladimir Sobotka enjoyed an incredible individual performance Saturday and his St. Louis Blues teammates wound up with something to celebrate, too.

The Blues roared back from a two-goal deficit in the third period to beat the San Jose Sharks 4-3 in overtime at HP Pavilion.

Patrik Berglund was credited with the winning goal at 1:12 of overtime, deflecting a shot by Barret Jackman that narrowly snuck by Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock, who replaced starter Antti Niemi in the third period.

But the hero was Sobotka, a left wing who delivered his first NHL hat trick.

"First hat trick. Yeah, it felt great," he said. "I don't know how to describe the feeling right now, but I feel great."

It was a devastating loss for the Sharks, who enjoyed an offensive breakthrough only to suffer a meltdown on defense in the final period. It was So bad that Niemi was yanked after Sobotka's tying goal and replaced by Stalock, who was recalled from Worcester before the game.

"You could feel our team sagging at that point," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "we needed to do something. We had two options -- we could pull the goalie or call timeout. We pulled the goalie."

The Sharks appeared in complete control with a 3-1 lead entering the third. But Sobotka answered with two goals within a span of 1:20.

He snapped off a wrist shot that squeezed past Niemi into the right corner of the net at 4:18 for his second goal. Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle was called for interference a minute later to put the Blues on a power play, and Sobotka struck again.

With Chris Stewart providing a screen in front of the net, Sobotka fired a shot from the right side that hit off Niemi and trickled past him for the tying goal, prompting McClellan to make the switch.

St. Louis is now 2-2 on a five-game road trip that wraps up Sunday at Anaheim.

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock thought his team played well during the second period even while falling behind 3-1, and he credited his players for continuing to pressure the Sharks.

"They were on their heels there, a little bit nervous, and we just kept coming," Hitchcock said.

The Sharks entered the game not having scored more than two goals in regulation and overtime in any of their previous 12 games, but they got some of the offense from secondary players that they've been searching for.

Scott Gomez punched in a goal that broke a 1-1 tie at 7:45 of the second period, taking advantage of a puck that came loose during a scrum in front of the net. It was just Gomez's second goal in 17 games.

Then San Jose got a rare goal from its second power-play unit with just under four minutes left in the period. Defenseman Matt Irwin uncorked a slap shot from near the blue line that slipped past Blues goaltender Jake Allen to make it 3-1 at 16:31.

The Blues grabbed the lead about five minutes into the game when Sobotka cashed in for his first goal on a rebound at 4:51.

"It's not a new thing that Soby's playing well," Berglund said. "He's contributing to this team every night. He plays all the roles, and it's just really fun to see that he gets his goals now. It's well deserved. He's a big part of this hockey team, hockey club, and I'm just real happy for him that he could collect the hatty tonight."

San Jose tied it on Logan Couture's goal at 15:19 of the first, which came on a rebound after Tommy Wingles drove the puck in from the right side and fired a shot that left Allen out of position.

NOTES: Sharks forward Marty Havlat (lower body injury) went on injured reserve. ... Allen, a rookie, drew his second straight start in the net for the Blues, with regular goaltender Jaroslav Halak scheduled to play in Sunday's road trip finale at Anaheim.
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