St. Louis Blues Magnus Paajarvi of Sweden and San Jose Sharks Brad Stuart hold each other behind the net in the first period at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on December 17, 2013. UPI/Bill Greenblatt By BILL GREENBLATT
San Jose Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi of Finland keeps an eye on the puck during the first period against the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on December 17, 2013. UPI/Bill Greenblatt By BILL GREENBLATT
San Jose Sharks Patrick Marleau (12) and Joe Thornton (19) skate in to celebrate a goal by Matt Irwin (52) against the St. Louis Blues in the first period at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on December 17, 2013. UPI/Bill Greenblatt By BILL GREENBLATT
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Joe Pavelski scored the first of three straight goals by San Jose, and Antti Niemi stopped 20 shots to lead the Sharks to a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night.
San Jose completed a season sweep of the Blues, winning all three games by a combined 16-7. St. Louis has lost two in a row after winning eight of 11.
Matt Irwin, Brent Burns and Marty Havlat added goals for the Sharks, who led 3-0 after 22 minutes. Niemi improved to 18-6-6.
Kevin Shattenkirk and Jay Bouwmeester scored second-period goals for the Blues.
The Sharks jumped to a 2-0 first-period lead on goals by Pavelski and Irwin in a span of 2:56. Both came from close range on rebounds of missed shots that caromed off the end boards.
Pavelski scored his 13th after a miss by Havlat, and Irwin jumped on a misfire from Justin Braun for his first of the season.
St. Louis goalie Jaroslav Halak gave up three goals on the first 12 shots he faced and fell to 16-6-2.
The Blues climbed to 3-2 on Bouwmeester’s goal with 24.2 seconds left in the second period. Havlat pounced on a rebound with 11:41 left in the game to make it 4-2.
San Jose won the earlier meetings 6-2 and 6-3.
NOTES: San Jose has outscored its opponents 44-15 in the first period this season. .... Blues coach Ken Hitchcock celebrated his 62nd birthday. ... St. Louis C David Backes missed his first game since Jan. 25, 2010, a string of 274 successive regular-season appearances. He sustained an upper-body injury in a collision with Ottawa C Colin Greening on Monday. Backes, who has 16 goals and 14 assists in 32 games, is expected to be out at least a week. ... The Blues were also without LWs Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Sobotka, who missed the game with upper-body injuries. Backes, Schwartz and Sobotka have combined for 29 goals and 38 assists. ... The Sharks are 0 for 16 on the power play over their last seven road games.