Sharks get off the schneid with 2-1 win in St. Louis
Although the Sharks won the game, they were 0-for-3 on the power play, and are now just 2-for-41 in the last nine games. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
ST. LOUIS – The Sharks’ losing streak is over, thanks in large part to an unlikely source.
Tim Kennedy, playing in just his third game since being recalled from Worcester, blasted a slap shot past goalie Jake Allen with less than seven minutes to go in the third period on Tuesday at Scottrade Center, snapping a 1-1 deadlock.
The Sharks’ seven-game skid (0-4-3) came to an end with a 2-1 victory, and it was the first win for San Jose since. Jan. 31 against Edmonton, and first in regulation since Jan. 27 against Vancouver.
Kennedy’s shot from the circle beat the rookie Allen to the far side, between his body and arm at 13:02. It was his second goal in as many games, as he scored the lone Sharks goal on Friday in Chicago in a 4-1 loss.
The goal marked the Sharks’ first lead since Feb. 5, when a 3-1 first period advantage over the Blackhawks at HP Pavilion ended in a 5-3 defeat. The Sharks had not led at any point in the last four games.
Joe Thornton tied the game with a second period goal at 3:55. Dan Boyle flicked the rebound of a Patrick Marleau shot towards the net, and it deflected to the stick of Thornton, who buried his fifth goal and first in 10 games.
The Sharks had the better of the scoring chances early. Joe Pavelski’s one-timer at 1:33 was stopped by Allen, who also made a save on Kennedy’s try on the power play, when Kennedy made a move to his backhand after appearing to have an open net midway through the first.
Their failure to convert cost the Sharks when Patrik Berglund opened the scoring at 12:54. Berglund split Boyle and Pavelski in the slot and directed in a pass from Vladimir Sobotka, who held off Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
The game had an edge to it, and St. Louis’ Ryan Reaves was in the middle of much of it, starting when the big man leveled Justin Braun in the first period with a clean hit in the Sharks’ defensive zone. In the second, Douglas Murray went out of his way to repay the favor with a neutral zone check that flattened Reaves. Matt Pelech and Reaves came together after a stoppage of play, and received coincidental minors at 9:42.
The Blues were playing after not arriving in St. Louis until approximately 6:30 Tuesday morning, getting held up in Vancouver due to problems with their plane.
The Blues entered the game with the league’s best power play, but finished 0-for-3. The Sharks’ penalty kill has not allowed an opponent power play goal in 10 of the last 12 games.
San Jose was 0-for-4, and is now just 2-for-42 in the last 10 games.
The Sharks tweaked their power play units to no avail. Kennedy took shifts with Thornton, Marleau, Pavelski and Boyle, while Logan Couture skated on the second unit with Marty Havlat, Ryane Clowe, Brent Burns and Braun.
Antti Niemi, starting for the fifth time in the last six games, stopping 25 shots in his seventh win.
Allen, a rookie making his first home start, made 24 saves.
Andrew Desjardins played for the first time since Feb. 5, after a stint on injured reserve. He skated on the fourth line wing with Adam Burish and Matt Pelech.
TJ Galiardi, Scott Gomez and Jason Demers were the healthy scratches.
The Sharks flew to Chicago immediately following the game, and will practice there on Wednesday and Thursday before playing the Blackhawks again on Friday. The six-game road swing concludes on Saturday in Dallas.
The Sharks improved to 3-3-1 on the road. … San Jose is 2-2-3 when its opponent scores first.