McDonald helps Blues tune out Sharks

ST. LOUIS (Ticker) — If the St. Louis Blues find their way into
the playoffs, goalie Chris Mason says they should be plenty

“We’ve been doing this for two months trying to get back in it,
so it has that intensity,” said Mason, who helped the Blues
continue their playoff push Thursday by making 24 saves in a 3-1
win over the San Jose Sharks. “It is playoffs for us, otherwise
we don’t get in. It’s good preparation for when we do get

The Blues are getting closer, entering the game three points out
of a playoff spot. The Blues are 2-0 on their four-game
homestand and three games over .500 (31-28-8) for the first time
since October 18, when they were 4-1.

“We just got to keep going,” Mason said. “Playing games that
mean something every night is just unbelievable.”

Andy McDonald had a goal and an assist, Brad Boyes scored his
team-leading 28th goal and Barret Jackman added an empty-netter
for St. Louis.

Patrick Marleau scored his 35th goal for San Jose, which has
slipped to second in the Western Conference during a 1-4-1 skid.

“They were pretty hungry out there,” Marleau said of the Blues.
“I think they were trying to get their forecheck going early and
they were getting the puck in. I thought we did a good job of
not letting the pressure get to us, but we made a couple of
mistakes and they capitalized on them.”

Brian Boucher, playing in place of No. 1 goalie Evgeni Nabokov,
made 23 saves for the Sharks. Nabokov missed his fifth straight
game due to an undisclosed lower body injury.

READ ALSO:  Avery back in Rangers lineup Sunday following benching by Tortorella

With the teams skating 4-on-4, Boyes gave the Blues the lead for
good. McDonald led a rush into the San Jose zone and fed the
puck to Boyes, who snapped a wrist shot from the high slot past
Boucher at 13:22 of the second period to make it 2-1.

Boyes admitted that he was not sure whether the puck had gotten
by Boucher.

“I didn’t really see,” he said. “I kind of waited and heard the
crowd and saw them get up and I knew it went in.”

Jackman sealed St. Louis’ victory when he scored into an empty
net on a shot from his end with 25.1 seconds left.

“It was a good game and a tight game,” San Jose coach Todd
McLellan said. “Unfortunately, we came out on the short end.”

San Jose, which came into the game ranked second in the NHL on
the power play (24.4 percent), took a 1-0 lead 11:30 in with the
man advantage. Christian Ehrhoff got the puck in the left
circle off a faceoff and centered to Marleau in the slot.
Marleau then beat Mason with a wrist shot.

The Blues tied it at 16:48, when David Perron and McDonald
executed a perfect 2-on-1 break. Perron brought the puck in on
right wing and passed cross-ice to McDonald, who deked Boucher
and slid the puck under him.