The San Jose Sharks were hoping a successful homestand before the All-Star break would provide some momentum as they continue to compete for the top spot in Pacific Division.
After a slow start, the Sharks look to close out their four-game home stretch with a second straight victory when they host the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.
San Jose (26-15-7) snapped a four-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over Chicago on Tuesday night. It was the Sharks’ first win on the homestand after being outscored 10-5 in losses to Dallas and Detroit.
The victory also helped the Sharks stay within two points of first-place Dallas and a point behind second-place Anaheim in the Pacific.
“With the four-game losing streak, and the way the Ducks and Stars are playing, every point we get before the All-Star break is big,” San Jose’s Joe Pavelski, who had a goal Tuesday, told the team’s official Web site. “You never want to drop two games in a row and we dropped four. We wanted to end that as quickly as we could.”
At 10-11-4, the Sharks are one of the worst home teams in the Western Conference, but they have won four of their last six at HP Pavilion. However, they play only 15 of their 33 games after the break at home.
“We wanted to get back to our style of hockey that the team has had some success with,” said defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh, who got his first goal since Dec. 8 on Tuesday after being benched for seven of the last nine games.
Evgeni Nabokov made 28 saves and snapped a three-game losing streak in which he had allowed 15 goals. He recorded his fifth and most recent shutout in San Jose’s 1-0 victory at St. Louis on Dec. 28 -the teams’ only previous meeting this season.
Nabokov is 6-7-1 with a 2.59 goals-against average in his career against St. Louis, but he has fared better recently, going 3-1-1 with a 1.58 GAA in his last five starts versus the Blues.
The Sharks have won nine of the last 11 meetings with the Blues, who last beat San Jose 1-0 on Jan. 20, 2007, at HP Pavilion.
St. Louis (22-18-7) hopes to avoid extending its season-high losing streak to seven games after falling 3-2 in a shootout at Vancouver on Wednesday.
“We’re not concerned about five or six in a row, we’re concerned about playing hard every night and doing what we can to get wins,” St. Louis coach Andy Murray said.
The Blues, who are 0-4-2 during their winless stretch, were unable to hold a one-goal lead in the third period. Brad Boyes, who has seven goals over his last seven games, looks for one in his fourth consecutive contest Thursday.
St. Louis goalie Manny Legace, a member of the Western Conference roster for Sunday’s All-Star game, made 28 saves but suffered his fourth straight defeat.
Legace has started on consecutive nights just once this season.