The San Jose Sharks are having trouble scoring, and facing the St. Louis Blues seems unlikely to help them solve that problem.
The Blues look to shut out the Sharks for a third straight time Saturday night at HP Pavilion.
These clubs are locked in tight division races, with San Jose (33-23-7) missing a chance to pull even with Phoenix atop the Pacific on Thursday in a 1-0 loss to Buffalo. The Sharks, who outshot the Sabres 39-19, opened this four-game homestand with a 1-0 victory over Philadelphia on Tuesday.
"Every moment in the game counts," winger Ryane Clowe said. "We score early last game, we win 1-0, tonight was the same thing, we lose 1-0. So we gotta put a grasp on that but if we play like this tonight, we'll probably win 1-0 or 2-1 and that's how we're going to have to win."
A low-scoring affair may be the only way San Jose prevails Saturday. The Blues (40-18-7), vying with Detroit for the Central lead, have won all three matchups with Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak posting shutouts in the last two.
St. Louis, with an NHL-best 12 shutouts, is closing out a six-game trip. The Blues won the first four games before a 2-0 defeat to Western Conference-leading Vancouver on Thursday.
"It's a measuring stick for us,'' said Elliott, who made 22 saves in his third straight loss. "We didn't measure up."
The Blues registered the first 10 shots and looked sharp most of the night before giving up Alex Burrows' goal early in the third period.
"We got them on the ropes I think in the first period, a little bit in the second, but I don't know if it's conditioning or what but we had a tough game last night and they just played longer," center T.J. Oshie said.
Oshie had five points in three games before Thursday for the Blues, who are battling fatigue on their longest trip of the season.
"It's been a long road trip so one more in San Jose, we gotta get ready for that," Oshie said.
St. Louis has killed off 12 straight penalties as it gets set to match up with San Jose, which is among the best in the NHL on the power play at 21.0 percent.
Sharks coach Todd McLellan has missed two straight games with concussion-like symptoms after being hit in the head by a stick Sunday in Minnesota. Assistants Matt Shaw and Jay Woodcroft are running the team in his absence.
This homestand began after a season-high nine-game trip that Shaw believes contributed to a poor effort Thursday.
"Ultimately we had an emotional win the other day, I think we're still getting everything back from the road trip," Shaw said.
Logan Couture, tied for second on the Sharks with 52 points, could return after missing the last two games with a lower-body injury suffered Sunday in a 4-3 defeat at Minnesota.
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