Sharks 5, Blues 2

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP)—The San Jose Sharks benefited from offensive surges from two unlikely sources as they moved closer to a Western Conference playoff spot.

Tom Preissing and rookie Steve Bernier each scored twice as the San Jose Sharks stretched their winning streak to four games with a 5-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.

Preissing made the most of first two-goal game in the NHL, scoring the tying goals in both the first and second periods.

“It was one of those days,” Preissing said. “Both goals had screens and they were meant to go in. The first goal just sailed through a group of three players. The second one was like a practice shot that the coach lays down for you and you hit it as hard as you can.”

Bernier scored the eventual winner just 1:05 after Preissing tied it 2-2 in the second period.

“That was big goal for us,” Bernier said. “I just kept firing off shots for us tonight hoping one would get in.”

Bernier’s second goal of the night made it 5-2 early in the third and capped the scoring.

San Jose coach Ron Wilson was worried that the Blues could upset his team after the Sharks struggled through the first period. With the win, San Jose moved three points behind eighth place Vancouver in the West.

“These games scare you,” Wilson said. “Because they’re playing loose and easy as opposed to us because were playing for a playoff spot. Our defensemen were doing a good job of keeping the pucks alive in the offensive zone.”

The Sharks aggressive play on defense made an impression on Blues coach Mike Kitchen.

“You could see that they were a desperate team,” Kitchen said. “They want to make the playoffs. They’re a strong defensive team and I don’t think we were as physical as we could have been out there.”

Joe Thornton had two assists, giving him 72 this season, to reclaim the NHL points lead with 97, one more than Jaromir Jagr. Jonathan Cheechoo added his 41st goal with 1:14 left in the second, and needs just four more to break Owen Nolan’s single-season Sharks record.

Vesa Toskala made 33 saves for San Jose. Toskala was making his fourth straight start since Evgeni Nabokov strained his abdomen against Anaheim on March 7.

The Blues took a 1-0 lead when Scott Young stripped Thornton of the puck and scored with a knuckling wrist shot from inside the right circle just 1:16 in.

Young has scored 25 goals against the Sharks in 46 career games.

Trent Whitfield scored his first goal of the season and 10th of his career, giving the Blues a brief 2-1 lead.

Patrick Lalime stopped 23 shots for St. Louis, which remained tied with Chicago for last place in the Central Division.

Notes

Nils Ekman was scratched after his wife, Johanna, gave birth to a baby boy earlier Thursday. … The Blues are 2-9-2 on Thursdays. … Cheechoo has scored seven goals in eight games since the Olympic break. … Young has scored the seventh most goals against San Jose.

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Three Stars

  Game Winning Goal
S. Bernier S. Bernier
San Jose Sharks
Scored at 11:09 of 2nd

Goaltending

Goalie Team Shot Save
Vesa Toskala Cgy 29 27