Sharks continue home dominance, edge Blues

By Michael Duca
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SAN JOSE, California (Ticker) — For nearly 10 months, the San
Jose Sharks have refused to leave the HP Pavilion without a
point. The trend continued Saturday.

Captain Patrick Marleau scored two goals – including the
game-winner with 5:03 left in the third period – and set up
another as the Sharks erased a two-goal deficit and posted a 5-4
victory over the St. Louis Blues.

Joe Thornton collected three assists for San Jose, which
improved to 16-0-2 at home this season.

“The leadership on the hockey club right now is tremendous,”
Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. “Nobody is letting anybody off
the hook. They hold themselves accountable.

“There wasn’t much we had to say as coaches. They expected more
from each other. Resiliency is a real good quality to have on a
hockey club, and we showed it tonight.”

Mike Grier, Devin Setoguchi and Ryane Clowe also tallied for the
Sharks, who have not lost at “The Shark Tank” in regulation
since February 14. They have posted an astonishing 23-0-3
record at the HP Pavilion over that stretch.

“It was Patty who won us that game late,” Setoguchi said. “He’s
our captain, he’s played great for us every game this year.
He’s leading by example, proving to everyone he’s a great

Brad Winchester netted his first two goals of the season and
B.J. Crombeen and David Backes also tallied for the Blues, who
scored three times in less than a two-minute span to build a 3-1
edge early in the middle session.

“I think we don’t want to throw in the towel at any time during
a game,” Marleau said. “We’ve found ourselves down a couple of
goals a few times this season, and we’ve battled back. It’s not
where we want to be, but we know we can do it.”

Playing 4-on-4, Marleau was sprung on a breakaway by Thornton.
The puck tangled in Marleau’s skates, but he pulled it out in
time to offer it to goaltender Chris Mason, pull it back and
then flip it into the top portion of the net for his 15th goal
of the season and fourth game-winner.

“It was a great play. I was able to get up there and finally
get a handle on the puck to shoot it,” Marleau said. “It was
bouncing. That wasn’t the plan, to stickhandle that much.”

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San Jose trailed by two before staging a comeback. With 4:45
left in the middle session, Marcel Goc skated down the right
wing and behind the net before dishing to Tomas Plihal, whose
shot from the slot was redirected by Grier past Mason.

“You never want to try to come from behind, but we’ve got such a
good team here, we’re never going to give up,” Setoguchi said.
“Coming from behind shows character, it shows the heart of the

Just 75 seconds into the third, the Sharks evened it as Thornton
carried the puck behind the net and gave it to Marleau in the
slot. Marleau backhanded a pass to Setoguchi, who fired a slap
shot past Mason from the left faceoff circle for his 15th tally.

“I got the puck, Patty made a great play out to Joe, I look up,
and I knew the puck was coming to me, so I had to get it off my
skates quick,” Setoguchi said. “I was able to put one in.”

“We came out there in the third period and just wanted to stick
to our game plan that we got away from in the second period,”
Marleau said. “Get pucks in and cycle. Right away, once again,
we got the puck in, moved it around pretty quick, and Seto found
the back of the net.”

The Sharks surged ahead at 3:32 of the period. After a faceoff
win by Milan Michalek, Lukas Kaspar found Clowe for a wrister
from the doorstep that slid between Mason’s pads.

But St. Louis knotted the contest on a soft goal with 9:31
remaining, when Backes skated around defenseman Dan Boyle and
flipped a wrist shot over netminder Evgeni Nabokov’s skate.

“I think we still had quite a few shots in the third,” Blues
coach Andy Murray said. “I don’t think we sat back, not by
intent. You knew they were going to come hard at us and you
knew they were a good team. We’re just not finishing games

Nabokov made 28 saves, while Mason turned aside 33 shots.

“We battled, and I don’t think we had a great first period,”
Mason said. “But we came hard and outplayed them in the second
period. I don’t think we were ready to battle in the third
period, and it costs us the game.”