x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

NHL: San Jose Sharks beaten by St Louis Blues

Jake Allen hero of the day as rookie goaltender stops 39 shots in 4-2 win.

Patrik Berglund, No 21, of the St Louis Blues, controls the puck against Joe Pavelski, No 8, of the San Jose Sharks, at the Scottrade Center.
Patrik Berglund, No 21, of the St Louis Blues, controls the puck against Joe Pavelski, No 8, of the San Jose Sharks, at the Scottrade Center.

The San Jose Sharks thought they simply ran into a hot goalie. Again.

Rookie Jake Allen stopped 39 shots, by far the most allowed by the St Louis Blues this season, in a 4-2 victory on Tuesday.

The Blues beat the Sharks for the second time in three nights, both times with the 25-year-old Allen in net.

"He played a tremendous game," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "He's got to be able to steal games. Our goaltender has done it for us."

Allen faced 25 saves in a 4-3 overtime victory on Saturday in San Jose. He was at his best on Tuesday in the second period when he allowed one goal on 19 shots.

"It doesn't matter if I get 15 shots or 40 shots, you've still got to stop the puck," Allen said. "That's been a big learning curve for me over the last three years in the minors, especially those situations.

"You've got to be ready for everything."

Chris Stewart led a balanced attack with two goals, and Chris Porter's first of the season on a rebound restored a two-goal cushion in the closing seconds of the second.

"Just kind of happy to be there," Porter said. "They came pretty hard at us, they came hard all night."

Brent Burns scored his first in his season debut at forward and Dan Boyle had a late power-play goal for the Sharks, who have lost four in a row and have dropped 10 of 12 to the Blues, including the first round of the play-offs last season.

Several players thought this was one of the Sharks' best efforts. Just not enough scoring.

"I thought we played great in the third," said forward Joe Thornton, who assisted on Boyle's goal. "I thought it was one of our most complete games of the year. If we continue to play like that we're going to win a lot of games."

The Blues overcame a two-goal deficit in San Jose and clinched this one on Stewart's empty-netter with 1:16 to go, four seconds after goalie Antti Niemi was pulled.

Allen has won six of his first seven career NHL starts, also besting the Sharks in San Jose.

Allen has made the most of his chance with a team that had appeared set at goalie. Brian Elliott has been benched with a 3.65 goals-against average, and Jaroslav Halak has been inconsistent and has missed time due to injury.

"He's not making any flashy saves, and we're trying to do a decent job of keeping shots to the outside," defenseman Barret Jackman said of Allen. "And even when they get inside, Jake is making the simple save and covering the rebound."

The shot total topped the Blues' previous high of 32 in a 5-2 win at Calgary on February 13, with Allen in goal.

Blues forward TJ Oshie (upper body) did not return after getting injured while checking Burns midway through the second period. Oshie got medical attention in the tunnel behind the bench before heading to the dressing room. He was credited with one hit in 5:33.

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said he would have an update on Oshie on Wednesday.

Burns returned from a leg injury that landed him on the injured list with his first point of the season in seven games. The Sharks moved Burns up from defense to forward after he totaled 12 goals in the previous six games.

"I saw what I expected from him, I've seen it before," McLellan said. "He provided an element of size, speed and a shot up front."

San Jose, which entered next-to-last in the NHL with 56 goals, has just two regulation victories in 20 games.

Seven St Louis players had a point to boost an offense missing its second line of Alex Steen, Andy McDonald and rookie Vladimir Tarasenko, and help the Blues move above .500 (6-5-1) at home.

Hitchcock said Steen (shoulder) "skated hard" earlier on Tuesday but was not ready to play in the game.

Stewart beat Niemi on a break-in for the lone goal of the first period, giving him three goals and five assists in five games.

David Perron deflected an off-target pass from Patrik Berglund with his left skate to make it 2-0 midway through the second. Burns answered 1:02 later on a shot from the high slot.

Jackman, usually a stay-at-home defenseman, has six assists in five games after helping on the empty-netter. He joined the rush and handcuffed Niemi with a backhander that left Porter with an open net for the rebound with 6.8 seconds left in the second.

Boyle scored with a one-timer only four seconds into a two-man advantage with 6:28 to go after Jackman (boarding) joined Scott Nichol (holding) in the penalty box.


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