Sharks 4, Blues 2

Rob Rains, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ST. LOUIS -- Center Joe Pavelski and defenseman Matt Irwin scored first-period goals as the San Jose Sharks jumped on the tired and injury-riddled St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night for a 4-2 victory.
The Blues did not arrive in St. Louis until about 2 a.m. Tuesday morning after playing Monday night in Ottawa and were without three of their top six forwards because of injuries. The Sharks had not played since Saturday night.
That showed early, as the Sharks consistently won the battles for loose pucks and Pavelski and Irwin both took advantage of bounces off the end boards for their goals against Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak in the opening 20 minutes.
The poor first period for the Blues continued a trend against the Sharks this season. In three games, all victories, the Sharks have outscored the Blues 8-0 in the first period. The Sharks held the Blues to only four shots on goal in taking the 2-0 lead after the opening period Tuesday.
Right winger Brent Burns increased the San Jose lead to 3-0 at 2:00 of the second period before the Blues finally came to life late in the period to cut into that lead.
Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk scored on a slap shot from the point at 15:31 and with only 25 seconds left in the period defenseman Jay Bouwmeester cut the lead to 3-2 when his slap shot got past Sharks goalie Antti Niemi, who appeared to be screened on the play.
The Sharks answered in the third when right winger Marty Havlat knocked a rebound past Halak at 8:19 to restore the two-goal margin.
The win was only the second in their last six games for the Sharks, who had lost three consecutive games on the road.
NOTES: The Blues were without three of their top forwards in the game, including their captain, David Backes. The center left Monday night's game in Ottawa after a collision with Senators C Colin Greening that led to an apparent concussion. Backes played in 274 consecutive regular-season games since Jan. 25, 2010, and 289 consecutive games including the playoffs. ... St. Louis LW Jaden Schwartz and C Vladimir Sobotka both sat out for the second night in a row. ... While the Blues had to play Monday and travel back to St. Louis to play their third game in four nights Tuesday, the Sharks were waiting in St. Louis since playing the Predators in Nashville on Saturday night. ... St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock celebrated his 62nd birthday Tuesday . ... The Sharks play the Kings in Los Angeles on Thursday, the same night the Blues play host to the Montreal Canadiens.

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