San Jose (35-19-1) at St. Louis (22-25-9)

Fair Currently: St. Louis, MO
Temp: 94° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Tue Feb 13, 2007
  • TV: CSBA, FSMW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The well-rested San Jose Sharks are continuing their longest trip of the season in a city they’ve come to enjoy.

The Sharks go for their fifth straight win in St. Louis as they visit the Blues on Tuesday for the fourth and final meeting between the teams in 2006-07.

San Jose (35-19-1) began its eight-game road trip last Wednesday with a 3-2 victory in Anaheim, completing a home-and-home series with the Ducks and tightening the Pacific Division race.

The Sharks are second in the division with 71 points, three behind first-place Anaheim and one ahead of Dallas. They have had five days off, though, and are now trying to continue their road success.

San Jose is 17-8-0 away from home, winning five of its last six there. Jonathan Cheechoo scored twice Wednesday and Milan Michalek recorded the game-winner with less than four minutes remaining for the Sharks, who outshot the Ducks 13-4 in the final period.

“Our stick-to-itiveness and combativeness were much better tonight,” Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. “It was nice to see some guys who struggled get rewarded by getting some big points, like Cheech and Milan.

“We need those two guys if we’re going to do anything as we go through the stretch run here.”

Cheechoo appears to be gearing up for that run with two goals in each of his last two contests after a seven-game drought. The Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner in 2005-06 with an NHL-best 56 goals has 20 this season along with 19 assists.

He gave credit to linemate Joe Thornton, who assisted on all four of those recent goals.

“Joe’s an amazing passer,” Cheechoo said. “I got to see it firsthand last year. I’ve been struggling this year, but he’s been kind of finding a way to get me the puck and I’m just letting loose and shooting it.”

Thornton is second in the NHL with 56 assists and has eight over the last five games. He’ll try to continue that play in St. Louis, where the Sharks have outscored the Blues 18-7 in four consecutive wins, including back-to-back shutouts.

Vesa Toskala was in goal for both of those wins and is 5-0-0 with a 1.39 goals-against average in his last five starts against St. Louis (22-25-9). San Jose has won two of three overall meetings with the Blues this season and is 7-1-1 in the last nine matchups.

The Sharks suffered that lone regulation defeat in their most recent meeting, however, losing 1-0 on Jan. 20. That game was part of a season-high four-game winning streak for the Blues, but they have since dropped five of their last seven games.

St. Louis held a one-goal lead late Saturday, but fell 4-3 in overtime to the Philadelphia Flyers after Simon Gagne got the equalizer and the game-winner.

“I treat the Flyers like the Detroit Red Wings right now because they’re playing desperate,” Blues coach Andy Murray said. “They’ve been playing hard so we knew we’d be in for a battle.”

The Blues have quite a battle to reach the postseason as they are 11th in the Western Conference with 53 points, 13 behind Calgary and Minnesota, who hold the final two spots. San Jose is fifth with 71 points.

Keith Tkachuk had a goal and an assist for St. Louis Saturday while Lee Stempniak and David Backes also scored. Curtis Sanford stopped 22 shots as Manny Legace remained sidelined following a collision in front of the net in a win over Detroit on Thursday. It is uncertain whether Legace will be ready to go Tuesday.

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Tuesday, Feb 13