San Jose Sharks blow two-goal lead, lose 4-3 to St. Louis Blues in overtime
SAN JOSE, Mar 09, 2013 (San Jose Mercury News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The Sharks had failed to reach three goals in regulation and overtime for the past 12 games and while they managed to do that Saturday, it still didn't lead to a victory as San Jose dropped a 4-3 overtime decision to the St. Louis Blues.
Blues forward Patrick Berglund was credited with the winning goal at 1:12 of overtime as he deflected a shot by defenseman Barret Jackman. But it was a hat trick by St. Louis forward Vladimir Sobotka that doomed the Sharks.
The Sharks had a 3-1 lead going into the third period, but the Blues rallied to tie it on Sobotka's second and third goals of the game. That second one prompted Sharks coach Todd McLellan to pull goalie Antti Niemi and replace him with Alex Stalock, who had been called up from Worcester on Friday to replace injured back-up Thomas Greiss.
Stalock, who had picked up a win in relief over the Phoenix Coyotes on Feb. 1, 2011, in his lone NHL appearance before Saturday, made six saves in just under 15 minutes of play, including a flashed glove to stop a shot by Blues forward Chris Porter on an odd-man rush. Whether Niemi was yanked because of his play or a lingering injury after being hit by David Perron in the second period could not immediately be determined.
St. Louis took a 1-0 lead at 4:51 of the first period when Blues forward Sobotka got position on Justin Braun and was able to fire a rebound of a shot by defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk past Niemi.
But at 15:19
of the same period, the Sharks evened it up when Tommy Wingels -- playing his first game since a Feb. 23 injury in Dallas -- drove hard down the right side. The rebound of his shot bounced off the back of Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo's skate right to Couture who did not miss the open net in front of him.
The Sharks took the lead at 7:45 of the second period getting a rare third-line goal. James Sheppard's shot bounced around the crease and ended up on the stick of Gomez, who got his second goal of the season and second in three games.
Power play goals have been hard to come by for San Jose as of late with the Sharks only 3 for 42 coming into the game. But the second unit came through at 16:31 of the second period when rookie defenseman Matt Irwin's shot eluded Allen after Ryane Clowe screened the Blues goalie.
Sobotka's second goal came at 4:18 of the third period from a tough angle when Niemi appeared to be partly screened by defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Eighty seconds later and from a similar spot on the ice, Sobotka got his natural hat trick when his shot trickled past Niemi on the short side.
--The Sharks recalled Alex Stalock from Worcester to back up Antti Niemi as Thomas Greiss is day-to-day with a sore neck after that collision in Calgary on Tuesday night. Stalock, generally considered next in line on San Jose's depth chart, has a 15-12-3 record this season with a 2.48 goals against average and a .917 save percentage.
The Sharks also recalled rugged forward Matt Pelech from Worcester, but he was not in the lineup against St. Louis.
San Jose also placed Marty Havlat on injured reserve with a lower body injury. McLellan said both Havlat and defenseman Brent Burns were skating and getting closer to game-ready status, but are not there yet.
--McLellan had a very San Jose-centric take on the Colorado Avalanche finally ending the history Chicago Blackhawks season-opening streak of 24 consecutive games without a regulation loss.
"I'd have loved to see them finish 48-0. We're done playing against them," the Sharks coach said. "I would have loved to see them run it out for the rest of the year and take points away from people who are competing at our level."
--Gomez registered his first multi-point game since Nov. 19, 2011 when he had two assists for Montreal against the New York Rangers.
For more on the Sharks, see David Pollak's Working the Corners blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/sharks. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/PollakOnSharks.
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