The menu tonight was toasted ravioli, an apparent St. Louis favorite which is surprisingly delicious; likely to become a staple in this household, honestly, games vs. the Blues notwithstanding. Whatever the mojo was, it seemed to work pretty well as the San Jose Sharks managed to bust home a good 4-2 win over St. Louis to open up their pre-Olympic road trip with a visit to Scottrade Center despite a late Too Many Men penalty after a big brawl sent Torrey Mitchell and David Backes to the box for some nail-biting 4-on-4 action to close out the game.
Patrick Marleau opened the scoring just 21 seconds into the first period, leading the Sharks to a 2-1 lead headed to the first intermission, with Ryane Clowe picking up the other tally and Patrick Berglund firing in a power play goal to breathe some life into his team late in the first period. Unfortunately for the Blues, as things progressed, Thomas Greiss (whose name was the topic du jour in both our Game Day Thread and that of St. Louis Game Time) proved to be the stronger in-net performer as the Sharks gathered another regulation win despite spending most of the game trailing in shots on goal against the tired, second-night-of-back-to-backs Blues.Devin Setoguchi notched a second-period power play goal of his own, the only scoring in that frame, to be eventually answered in the third as Alex Steen (eventually got credit for how he) eked one past the 'Greiss Monkey' (Meth Squirrel, the Greisser, Greiss Greiss Baby) for another black mark on the Sharks' generally-strong penalty kill. Scott Nichol's final addition to the score sheet sealed the deal 7 minutes later to lift his team to a more decisive victory.
Winning aside, I saw some great things from the Sharks tonight, but there were still some errors that I felt they could have kept in line. Patrick Marleau (in the ... second period I think?) managed a fantastic breakaway, but his chance to keep claim over the league lead in goals was spoiled as he moved the puck faster than he was moving his feet; Pavelski, too, had a clean breakout chance in the third, but was unable to control his own stick well enough to get it going -- these are small complaints, of course, but those are the kinds of details that can turn into very, very ugly turnovers against a fast, well-executing team like we expect to see in the postseason (oh no, I said it!). If San Jose expects to excel and push themselves to the Conference Finals or beyond, little mistakes like that will need to be cleaned up.
All in all, I thought it was a great game -- well played by both teams, especially considering that the Blues faced the Blackhawks just the night before in Chicago, meaning that the Sharks were actually in St. Louis before they were. I wish I could say that I expect that kind of jump on the back-end of two nights of play from the Sharks when facing such tough opponents, but until some assistance on the blue line is acquired, I'm hard pressed to make let that hope burn too strong; of course, the return of Dan Boyle and/or Marc-Edouard Vlasic will certainly bolster my faith in Team Teal.
The Sharks continue their road trip on Saturday, facing up against the Nashville Predators; the season series between the two clubs sits at 1-1 right now, with the home team taking home the W in each contest to date. High time for the visitors to grab up two points, I think, and remind the Predators why they're in a three-way points tie to clutch a playoff spot right now. Trade rumors may come to fruition before that night, though -- either way, there are a few interesting days laid out in front of us.