Bad penalties sink Sharks in 3-0 loss

It's rather fitting that the Sharks' final opportunity to mount any sort of offensive pressure in an attempt to tie tonight's game against the St. Louis Blues late in the third period was squashed by an ill-advised tripping penalty. While the Sharks have every right to be angry about a soft call on Brad Winchester that gave the Blues their third 5-on-3 advantage of the night in the second period, lazy and undisciplined penalties by Dan Boyle and Brent Burns coupled with a mental error by Andrew Desjardins gave the Blues three overlapping power plays in the first period that they predictably were able to squeeze a goal out of. And when you gift the best defensive team in the NHL a 1-0 lead, the odds are stacked against you.

Perhaps even more important than the barrage of Sharks penalties early in the game was the fact that San Jose's own power play was unable to perform at anywhere near the level of the Blues' when the calls began to even up in the game's latter half. In eight minutes of power play time, the Sharks generated one measly scoring chance while surrendering two shorthanded chances to the Blues. Meanwhile, St. Louis created six chances in just under seven minutes of time with the man-advantage. Although the Blues' totals are inflated by the multiple 5-on-3s, getting outchanced on your own power play in a game that featured a heavy dose of special teams play is no way to win.

We've spilled a fair amount of virtual ink about the Sharks' puck possession struggles against the Western Conference's elite, a group that might be led by the Blues; they've been the best possession team in the league with the score tied and rank second behind the Wings with the score close. And that's what makes the result of this game all the more frustrating as the Sharks were far from steamrolled by the Blues at even strength, earning a greater share of possession and tying St. Louis with 8 EV scoring chances (Full scoring chance summary after the jump). Although the Sharks did go 22 minutes without recording a chance (largely due to spending time killing penalties) and a chunk of their opportunities came late in the second period with the Blues already up 2-0, there's a good chance San Jose could have earned their first win against the Blues of the season had they either played more disciplined hockey or generated anything at all on their own opportunities to skate with the extra man. They did neither and as a result are now 0-3 against a Blues team that they're liable to butt heads with in the postseason if Stanley Cup aspirations are on their minds.

Period Totals EV PP 5v3 PP SH 5v3 SH
1 2 5 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0
2 5 7 4 5 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2
3 3 6 2 1 1 2 0 0 0 3 0 0
4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 10 18 8 8 1 2 0 0 1 6 0 2

Team Period Time Note SJS Opponent
SJS 1 16:38 Couture 22 29 31 39 44 78 10 28 41 42 46 74 5v5
SJS 1 16:29 Clowe 22 29 31 39 44 78 10 28 41 42 46 74 5v5
STL 1 13:10 Oshie 17 22 26 31 44 64 27 28 41 42 57 74 5v5
STL 1 7:34 Stewart PP 5 31 39 44 69 10 15 21 25 28 41 4v5
STL 1 6:41 Perron PP 3 19 26 31 88 21 22 27 42 57 74 4v5
STL 1 3:37 Backes PP 3 19 31 39 88 15 27 41 42 57 74 4v5
STL 1 3:27 Perron 3 19 31 39 69 88 15 27 41 42 57 74 5v5
STL 2 19:37 Stewart 3 29 31 39 78 88 5 10 21 22 25 41 5v5
STL 2 17:57 Langenbrunner 8 12 19 31 44 61 15 17 27 28 32 41 5v5
STL 2 15:22 McDonald 2 22 29 31 69 88 10 21 22 25 41 46 5v5
STL 2 15:06 Stewart 2 22 29 31 69 88 10 21 22 25 41 46 5v5
STL 2 12:04 Crombeen 22 29 31 39 78 88 4 21 26 41 46 75 5v5
SJS 2 6:37 Vlasic 17 22 26 29 31 44 5 15 22 32 41 42 5v5
STL 2 3:17 McDonald PP 3 8 31 88 10 27 41 42 57 74 3v5
STL 2 2:46 Backes PP 3 8 31 88 10 27 41 42 57 74 3v5
SJS 2 2:27 Couture SH 22 31 39 44 69 15 21 22 25 28 41 4v5
SJS 2 1:02 Marleau 12 19 22 29 31 88 5 41 42 46 57 74 5v5
SJS 2 0:58 Vandermeer 2 3 8 31 44 78 15 26 27 28 32 41 5v5
SJS 2 0:31 Pavelski 2 3 8 31 44 78 15 26 27 28 32 41 5v5
STL 3 18:11 Sobotka 5 17 26 31 61 64 4 15 17 32 41 46 5v5
SJS 3 11:45 Boyle 3 8 12 19 22 31 27 28 41 42 57 74 5v5
STL 3 9:49 Sobotka SH 8 12 19 22 31 39 17 21 22 41 46 5v4
STL 3 9:28 Perron SH 8 12 19 22 31 39 5 12 27 41 57 5v4
SJS 3 8:11 Mitchell 3 5 17 31 69 78 4 10 17 25 41 46 5v5
SJS 3 7:33 Pavelski PP 8 12 19 31 39 61 5 15 21 27 41 5v4
STL 3 2:11 Backes PP 3 17 26 31 88 22 27 41 42 57 74 4v5
STL 3 2:10 Backes PP 3 17 26 31 88 22 27 41 42 57 74 4v5
STL 3 0:53 Berglund PP 5 8 12 22 31 4 21 25 27 41 74 4v5

# Player EV PP SH
2 J. VANDERMEER 5:07 2 2 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
3 D. MURRAY 14:38 4 2 0:00 0 0 3:48 0 4
5 C. WHITE 9:24 1 1 0:00 0 0 2:22 0 2
8 J. PAVELSKI 13:36 3 1 3:40 1 2 1:46 0 1
10 B. WINCHESTER 7:59 0 0 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
12 P. MARLEAU 13:59 2 1 4:38 1 2 2:28 0 1
17 T. MITCHELL 9:16 2 2 0:00 0 0 1:03 0 2
19 J. THORNTON 14:00 2 2 4:48 1 2 2:35 0 2
22 D. BOYLE 17:00 5 4 5:39 0 2 2:00 1 1
26 M. HANDZUS 9:38 1 2 3:12 0 0 2:02 0 3
29 R. CLOWE 14:52 4 4 3:43 0 0 0:00 0 0
31 A. NIEMI 42:49 8 8 8:00 1 2 6:40 1 6
39 L. COUTURE 11:50 2 3 4:17 1 2 2:14 1 2
44 M. VLASIC 18:17 5 2 0:00 0 0 1:38 1 1
61 J. BRAUN 11:59 0 2 3:16 1 0 0:29 0 0
64 J. MCGINN 10:33 0 2 3:22 0 0 0:00 0 0
69 A. DESJARDINS 7:39 1 3 0:00 0 0 1:15 1 1
78 B. FERRIERO 10:21 5 2 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
88 B. BURNS 15:03 1 5 3:25 0 0 3:20 0 4

Head-to-head scoring chances:

H2hg53_medium

As he usually does, Ken Hitchcock went power versus power in matching the David Backes line against Joe Thornton's. The Sharks trio came out slightly ahead while the Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Dan Boyle pairing had a solid night playing against a mix of the Blues' top two lines.

Patrick Berglund had a terrific night for St. Louis, on the ice for 4 Blues EV chances and no EV chances against while facing the Logan Couture line, the highest scoring chance +/- on either team. He and Langenbrunner were also the only Blues forwards to register positive Corsi ratings. Berglund has had a solid year in terms of moving the play forward while facing the second-toughs but has been bitten hard by the percentages. When those turn, he's going to be a guy to look out for in the playoffs.

More stats from the game: Corsi/Fenwick, Shift Charts, H2H Ice Time, Zonestarts, Play-By-Play, Box Score

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