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Boyle's injury overshadows Sharks' win

The SportsXchange

ST. LOUIS -- The fact the San Jose Sharks stayed undefeated with a 6-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues Tuesday night was not the most important thing on their minds.

Just 5:22 into the game, defenseman Dan Boyle lay motionless on the ice after he was checked into the boards from behind by the Blues' Maxim Lapierre.

"It's just disgusting to see a play like that in hockey," said the Sharks' Logan Couture. "A player who probably shouldn't even be in this league taking out one of the best players in the world. The guy's got a history. After the first shift he was yelling at us from their bench that he was coming at us, and then he does that.

"It was one of the scariest things I've ever seen in my life. He was shaking, his eyes were up at the roof. We tried talking to him, but he wasn't responding. I've never seen anything like it. ... The whole game we were thinking about Dan."

After being treated on the ice for several minutes by both the Sharks and Blues medical staffs, Boyle was placed on a stretcher and taken to a hospital. Coach Todd McLellan said their initial reports were that Boyle was alert and able to move all of his extremities. He was to be kept overnight at the hospital for evaluation.

"From what I understand he is doing OK," McLellan said. "Very scary moment, needless, doesn't have to happen in our game. ... Hard and stupid are two different things. The only thought that I had was concern for the player.

"It was an emotional roller coaster. You don't know how the team is going to respond, you don't know what is going to happen. The fact that we took advantage on the power play kind of put us in the driver's seat for the rest of the night. I was happy with the way our team responded, but as soon as the game is over your concern goes right back to Dan and his health."

Lapierre was assessed a five-minute major penalty for checking from behind, as well as a major penalty for fighting and a game misconduct.

The Sharks, who had only scored five power-play goals despite leading the NHL with 24 goals after their first five games, took advantage of the situation with goals from Couture and Joe Pavelski. It was the first time this season the Blues have trailed in a game.

The Sharks eventually added a third power-play goal, by Patrick Marleau, and also got goals from Tommy Wingels, Scott Hannan and Joe Thornton to raise their record to 6-0. Thornton had a four-point night, assisting on three of the goals.

"It doesn't matter who it is, when they go down like that it's scary," Pavelski said. "Idiots are idiots. Dan is a world-class defenseman but there's guys in the league that will target him. Our guys responded appropriately.

"We saw Lapierre a lot of times with Vancouver and the same stuff happened. It's a new team but it's bleeding into them a little bit. Then to see him skate away and hide it's tough. It was an emotional night up and down."

Thornton said he did not see the initial hit, but he did see his teammate lying on the ice.

"Your heart kind of drops," he said. "It's tough seeing a teammate go down like that. We had to give a good effort for Dan tonight. I've never seen that before, you're just kind of sitting on the bench hoping Dan is OK. It takes awhile to kind of get back focused again.

"I've never seen a guy be like that before, that was what was so scary. He wasn't responding. Dan is a tough competitor, so something really, really went wrong if he was on the ice like that."

Lapierre was not available to the media following the game.

It was a scary moment for Blues coach Ken Hitchcock as well.

"I haven't really looked at it that closely on the video to be honest with you, so I don't want to comment on it until I look at it a few times," he said. "I don't think that had anything to do with the outcome today. One team played hard and smart.

"We're hoping that he's OK, but I think from the standpoint of the game, I'm more concerned with the way we reacted to getting played hard. ... We didn't show the competitive composure that you need to keep the game close, things like that. We let it get away."

NOTES: The Sharks placed RW Adam Burish on injured reserve Tuesday with a lower body injury and recalled LW Bracken Kearns from Worchester in the American Hockey League, but he did not dress for the game. ... D Brad Stuart of the Sharks served the final game of his three-game suspension for a hit on LW Rick Nash of the New York Rangers on Oct. 8. ... The Blues have used the exact same lineup for all five games this season, but Hitchcock said backup G Brian Elliott will play either Thursday night at Chicago or Friday night at Winnipeg. ... The Blues have a week off following the game in Winnipeg and will spend it with a "team building" week in Charleston, S.C.

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