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Vesa Toskala stops 29 shots as Sharks blank Blues 2-0

Toskala stopped 29 shots for his second shutout - Nabokov has three - in a 2-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night. The Sharks also beat the Devils 2-0 on Saturday and lead the NHL with five shutouts, one more than Anaheim. "We scored only two goals, but it felt like we were in control all the time," Toskala said. "The penalty killing was working good. We played well and we played smart."

Ryane Clowe scored his third goal and Joe Pavelski added his second for the Sharks, who have won three straight and five of six.

Both of Toskala's shutouts have come on the road. He also blanked Columbus 3-0 on Oct. 23 and is 19-2 in his last 21 starts.

"I don't know if there's any pressure on the other goalie if his partner's had a shutout," San Jose coach Rick Wilson said. "But it's nice that Vesa gets rewarded because he's played really well for us all year."

Manny Legace made 25 saves for the Blues, who have totalled one goal the last two games. St. Louis mustered one shot on three power plays and is in a 2-for-41 slump the last 13 games.

Leading scorer Keith Tkachuk is scoreless the last four games, too.

"Yeah, we got some shots on net, but we've got to find a way to score goals," Tkachuk said. "The power play, it's a big reason. It's losing us games."

The Blues have 13 regulation losses, scoring two or fewer goals in all of them. This despite adding offence with Doug Weight, Bill Guerin and Martin Rucinsky in the off-season.

"Right now we're really squeezing the pucks," coach Mike Kitchen said. "It seems like we can't hold onto the puck, we can't make a play."

San Jose's Mike Grier banged his head hard into the boards in front of the San Jose bench with 7:11 to play after his skates became tangled with the Blues' Jeff Woywitka. Grier was able to get off the ice after a short delay, but returned to action.

Wilson said Grier received stitches to close a wound.

"He's got a big lump on his head right now. They're out there fixing the ice where he hit," Wilson said.

Clowe scored his third goal, his first point in four games, with a rebound shot that slowly trickled between Legace's pads at 2:15 of the first.

"I could feel it just rattle around and I didn't know where it was, so I didn't want to move," Legace said. "Sure enough, it just tweaked over the line. It took forever, too."

Pavelski, recalled from Worcester of the AHL on Nov. 22, scored his second goal in three games when he beat Legace on a power play at 1:08 of the second. At the time of his recall, Pavelski was Worcester's leading scorer with 26 points, also leading AHL rookies.

Notes: Blues D Jay McKee, out with a broken hand since Oct. 20, is expected to return on Thursday against Nashville. ... Sharks RW Jonathan Cheechoo missed his fifth straight game with a left leg injury. ... The Blues are anticipating their first sellout of the season next Tuesday, when Brett Hull's No. 16 jersey is retired. Only 500 tickets remained.


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