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GAME 4 - SAN JOSE @ BLUES - 4/13 - 7:00 p.m. CDT

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  • GAME 4 - SAN JOSE @ BLUES - 4/13 - 7:00 p.m. CDT

    GAME: San Jose Sharks at St. Louis Blues.

    PLAYOFF SERIES: Western Conference quarterfinal; Sharks lead 2-1.

    TIME: Tuesday, 7 p.m. CDT.

    The St. Louis Blues didn't make a big move at the trade deadline. It turns out they didn't need to because they had struck gold five days earlier.

    Late-season acquisition Mike Sillinger will look to carry the momentum over from his tremendous Game 3 effort when the Blues try to even their first-round series with the San Jose Sharks.

    Sillinger, acquired March 4 from Phoenix and playing for his 10th team to tie an NHL record, seemed to be a low-key pickup at the time. But he provided an immediate boost for a team that qualified for the playoffs in the last game of the regular season, getting four goals and five assists in 16 games.

    On Monday, he almost singlehandedly got his new team back into its playoff series. Sillinger, who has just 166 goals in 829 career games, recorded his first three-goal game as the Blues defeated the Sharks 4-1 to avoid falling into an 0-3 hole.

    "My little boys told me they wanted me to score a hat trick and my wife laughed," Sillinger said. "She goes, 'If he ever gets a hat trick we'll fill the house with balloons.'

    "We'll be filling the house with balloons when I get back and see them in Phoenix, and hopefully it won't be for a while."

    Known more for his faceoff prowess than his scoring, the 32-year-old center won 56 percent of his draws this season and is one of the Blues' top penalty killers, as the Sharks found out in the final minute when he completed his career night with a short-handed empty-net tally.

    The four-goal outburst was a far cry from what the Blues' had mustered in the first two games. Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov set a franchise record with nine regular-season shutouts and nearly had two in the first two games of the series, stopping 52 of 53 shots in 1-0 and 3-1 victories.

    But the Blues were able to get bodies in front of the Russian goalie on Monday, including Dallas Drake's eventual game-winner off a deflection late in the second period.

    "They've been working pretty hard and you have to give them credit," Nabokov said. "They got two breaks but they deserved those breaks."

    The Blues will again try to play a more disciplined game. After handing the Sharks 13 power plays in the Game 2 loss, the Blues took just one minor penalty through the first two periods on Monday.

    "Obviously, we needed to initiate and not retaliate," Sillinger said. "We did that tonight. We stuck to our game plan, we didn't get frustrated and we're right back in the series."

    Patrick Marleau, who had three goals in Game 2, including two on the power play, was limited to just three shots on Monday.

    "It was kind of funny to read that the series was over," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "We won two home games and now they've come back. Now they'll have something to think about tonight and come better prepared tomorrow."

    The teams have combined to go 2-for-36 on the power play, with the Blues 0-for-15.

    Game 5 is Thursday at San Jose.

    HOW THEY GOT HERE: Sharks - 104 points; 2nd seed. Blues - 91 points; 7th seed.

    PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Sharks - Marleau, 3 goals; Vincent Damphousse, 3 assists; Marleau and Damphousse, 3 points; Niko Dimitrakos, 6 PIM. Blues - Sillinger, 3 goals and 3 points; five with 1 assist; Chris Pronger, 12 PIM.

    PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Sharks - Power play: 9.5 percent (2 for 21). Penalty killing: 100 percent (15 for 15). Blues - Power play: 0.0 percent (0 for 15). Penalty killing: 90.4 percent (19 for 21).

    GOALTENDERS: Sharks - Nabokov (2-1, 1 SO, 1.28 GAA); Vesa Toskala (no appearances). Blues - Chris Osgood (1-2, 1.76); Reinhard Divis (0-0, 0.00).


    Game 3 plan doesn't work out for Sharks


    By Victor Chi

    Mercury News

    ST. LOUIS -- The Sharks executed the first half of their game plan quite nicely Monday night. They absorbed the expected early wave of emotion and gusto from the St. Louis Blues without surrendering any goals.

    Unfortunately for the Sharks, they waited way too long in Game 3 to initiate the second phase of the strategy -- mounting a diligent counterattack. Consequently they suffered a 4-1 loss that featured Blues center Mike Sillinger scoring an empty-netter to complete a hat trick.

    ``At the beginning we did a good job of keeping shots to the outside and blocking shots when we had to,'' defenseman Scott Hannan said. ``But after we weathered it, we didn't turn it up on our end. We didn't battle for pucks as much as we should've, sticking our nose in there.''

    The Sharks lead 2-1 in this opening-round series. Game 4 is tonight.

    The Sharks were hoping to hold the upper hand with games on consecutive nights because they have younger legs. But their lack of pressure through two periods didn't tax St. Louis.

    Blues goalie Chris Osgood had left Game 2 early in the third period favoring his right leg.

    The ailment wasn't significant enough to keep Osgood out of the lineup, but the Sharks failed to find out how much he might be suffering, landing only eight shots on goal through two periods.

    Conversely, St. Louis had 25 shots through two periods. Jonathan Cheechoo cut the Blues' lead to 2-1 early in the third. But Sillinger countered with his second goal just over two minutes later to make it 3-1.

    ``We knew that they were going to be energized with their crowd, and we just didn't respond,'' Sharks defenseman Kyle McLaren said.

    ``If you give that team that many shots on net, they're going to bury some. Close to 30 shots? We didn't play our style of game. But I don't think we can dwell on what happened. Just have to get ready to get back to Sharks hockey. That's it.''

    The Sharks were pegged to have the advantage in this series at five-on-five. But Cheechoo's goal is the only even-strength goal they have scored in regulation. St. Louis didn't have any in the first two games but broke through for three Monday.

    Sillinger had the first to give the Blues their first lead of the series at 1-0 midway though the second.

    The play developed quickly as Dallas Drake slid to block Tom Preissing's shot at the St. Louis blue line.

    The ricochet of the puck off Drake turned out to be a perfect outlet pass for Sillinger, who had just served two minutes in the penalty box for elbowing Nils Ekman.

    Preissing hustled back but could not prevent Sillinger from bursting in against goalie Evgeni Nabokov.

    ``The best pass I could give him was off my feet; better there than my stick right now,'' Drake joked. ``It was just lucky timing; he was coming out of the box at the exact same time.''

    Preissing didn't find humor in the play.

    ``Not a bad break; it was the wrong play to make in that situation,'' Preissing said.

    Added Coach Ron Wilson, ``It's never a good idea to take a shot that might be blocked as a penalty is expiring, just for that reason. Preissing understands that now. He should have enough poise to make the right play in that situation.''

    As long as the game had remained scoreless, the Sharks could afford to play rope-a-dope. But after Drake scored by deflecting in Eric Weinrich's point shot to open a 2-0 lead late in the second, the Sharks were in trouble.

    ``In the second period when they pushed, we didn't push back,'' Wilson said. ``In the third period we did, but the deficit was too much.''

    Left wing Alexander Korolyuk, who had the most jump among the Sharks, had their best chance in the first 40 minutes. Less than a minute before Weinrich's goal, Korolyuk had faked Osgood out of the crease only to run out of room to land a shot on goal.

    ``I kept reading about how the series was over,'' Wilson said. ``I mean, we won two home games. Now they've come back. Hopefully we'll be better prepared for the next game.''

    Mercury News staff writer Mark Purdy and the Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat contributed to this report. Contact Victor Chi at [email protected] or (408) 920-5720.


    Blues get smart in a hurry

    ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues did what they needed to do Monday night. They stopped being stupid and started being smart. They stopped being cheaters and started being scorers.

    This did not work out so splendidly for the Sharks, as they lost Game 3 to St. Louis 4-1. But this sort of thing is what you have to expect in a playoff series. Teams adjust. Dolts are not going to be dolts for seven consecutive games.

    Or even three. Which is to say that the Blues team that was last seen at HP Pavilion on Saturday afternoon, the Blues team that went all Bertuzzi on the Sharks and committed 16 penalties and looked silly doing so . . . well, that team was nowhere in sight here at the Savvis Center. It is one explanation for the Blues' victory, though not the only explanation.

    ``They played a lot more disciplined game,'' Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart said. ``But some of it was us, too. We didn't go to the net. It's tough to score in the playoffs when you're not driving with the puck and going to the net.''

    Jonathan Cheechoo, who scored the Sharks' only goal, was of a similar mind.

    ``We didn't do the little things we did in the first two games,'' said Cheechoo. ``It was a lot of things. Their goalie got hurt in the last game, and we didn't do a good job of taking advantage of that. We have to come back tomorrow and pepper him, make him make saves.''

    So look for that adjustment tonight, as sure as Lewis and Clark once suited up here and forechecked the Louisiana Purchase. The Sharks are hardly in trouble. The momentum ebbs and flows in the NHL postseason. Maybe you've noticed that in the eight ongoing first-round series, no team has taken a 3-0 lead. In each series, one team leads the other by two games to one, just as the Sharks still lead the Blues.

    But tonight will be the most significant game of this series so far and will set the tone for the rest of the way. Back-to-back games are not the norm in the playoffs. But the Sharks came here figuring they might have the edge in playing twice within 27 hours because their roster is younger.

    We'll see. Maybe the worst thing about Monday's loss for the Sharks was that because the Blues had a two-goal lead for most of the third period, St. Louis Coach Mike Kitchen could lighten up on the playing time for his top veteran players such as Chris Pronger (boooo), Keith Tkachuk and Doug Weight. So they might be fresher than usual tonight, as well.

    Clearly, the Blues were the more desperate team Monday. They were taking big heat from their home fans for their lack of recent postseason success -- they'd won just four of their previous 14 playoff games -- and had more jump, right from the opening faceoff. The Sharks were outshot in the first two periods 25-8, and it looked even worse than it reads. Blues goalie Chris Osgood barely had to break a sweat.

    ``Our goal was to come in here and steal a game, but they played hard and took it to us,'' said Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan. ``I don't think we battled them in front of the net. We played a perimeter game, even on the power play. Osgood is a good goaltender, and he's going to make those saves. We've got to get in the battle zone, work down low, work to get any rebounds.''

    Not only that, the Sharks have to be more careful in their detail work. The first two Blues goals were preventable, if our beloved Los Tiburones had been a bit sharper and grittier. The first occurred when rookie defenseman Tom Preissing made a bad decision at the end of a Sharks power play. He shot the puck from up top, at the point, just as the penalty to St. Louis center Mike Sillinger was expiring.

    Why was this such a bad idea? Because directly in front of Preissing was the Blues' Dallas Drake, who blocked the shot with his boot. The puck reversed direction and bounced past Preissing, sort of like a golfer's tee shot ricocheting off a tree stump and back past his feet.

    Wait. It got worse. The puck then skidded directly to the area in front of the penalty box, where Sillinger was just emerging. He picked up the puck in stride and streaked toward the Sharks' goal, with Preissing trailing in vain. Evgeni Nabokov barely had time to blink, let alone stop Sillinger's shot.

    It is remarkable how, in the playoffs, an opponent will find a team's weakness. Preissing, the rookie, had never been in that exact situation during the regular season.

    The second Blues goal came directly off a faceoff play, when the Sharks' Patrick Marleau lost the draw to Petr Cajanek. Marleau, who is improving in terms of taking draws, had a rough night in the circle Monday.

    He won only 4 of 14 faceoffs in the first two periods -- although the more telling statistic may have been the zero shots he took in the first period. He finished with three shots on goal for the game, none of them quality chances.

    There was a lot of that going around. The line of Marleau, Vincent Damphousse and Niko Dimitrakos was not active, to say the least.

    After the Blues edged out to their comfy lead, the crowd spent the rest of the night amusing itself with a vocal salute to Shark stalwart Mike Ricci. This was the chant from the Savvis intellectuals: ``Reech-ee's Ug-lee, Reech-ee's Ug-lee.''

    Not true. On this night, pretty much the whole Shark team was unattractive.

    Contact Mark Purdy at [email protected] or (408) 920-5092. Fax (408) 920-5244.


    Mr. G

  • #2
    Blues win 5-3


    • #3

      i'll settle for 3-2 victory
      Sponsor of Adam Wainwright
      Sponsor of the $0.50 any-size frozen coke at Mobil on the Run when the Cards score six
      There are 24 teams in baseball with a longer World Series drought than the St. Louis Cardinals.
      "I told myself from the beginning, 'If he's going to throw a shutout, then he's going to tie,' ... he was not going to beat me today." ---Adam Wainwright, 8/11/10
      "I was confused." ---Tim McCarver, 7/30/15


      • #4
        Why are they playing back-to-back games in the fucking playoffs? Whoever made up the schedule is a mooron.


        • #5
          Originally posted by GloveSaveandaBeauty@Apr 13 2004, 10:13 AM
          Why are they playing back-to-back games in the fucking playoffs? Whoever made up the schedule is a mooron.
          To avoid playoffs in July, because it already sucks to see hockey in June.
          Lounge sponsor of Gary Brackett, Reggie Wayne, Henrik Zetterberg (not lounge approved) and all country music.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Cubs4ever+Apr 13 2004, 10:15 AM-->
            QUOTE (Cubs4ever @ Apr 13 2004, 10:15 AM)

          • #7
            no, but I'm guessing they do it more than once, and the compact schedule is because of that.
            Lounge sponsor of Gary Brackett, Reggie Wayne, Henrik Zetterberg (not lounge approved) and all country music.


            • #8
              I'm betting it's to accommodate the almighty TV schedule.

              Mr. G


              • #9
                Originally posted by Mr. Goalie@Apr 13 2004, 09:19 AM
                I'm betting it's to accommodate the almighty TV schedule.

                Mr. G
                BINGO, and right now, the NHL needs all of the exposure it can get. What's ESPN saying now - isn't it something like 'Hockey everynight for 2-months'. Personally, I think it's great. Last night I had Toronto - Ottawa on CBC, Dallas - Colorado on ESPN and the Blues - Sharks on ESPN 2. Of course this is nothing compared to the people who get center ice, but this is good for us cable having hockey fans.

                With that said, I almost expected the older legs of the Wings to get beat on the back of a back to back with Nashville.


                • #10
                  Originally posted by Cubs4ever+Apr 13 2004, 09:15 AM-->
                  QUOTE (Cubs4ever @ Apr 13 2004, 09:15 AM)

                • #11
                  Originally posted by ppg shg+Apr 13 2004, 11:27 AM-->
                  QUOTE (ppg shg @ Apr 13 2004, 11:27 AM)
                  Originally posted by [email protected] 13 2004, 09:15 AM

                • #12
                  The Blues won't win this one unless some of the big guns start scoring. Keith Tkachuk and Doug Weight need to produce.


                  • #13
                    Tonight's Officials:
                    Referees: Eric Furlatt #27, Bill McCreary #7
                    Linesmen: Scott Driscoll #68, Dan Schachte #47

                    Supervisor: Bob Hall
                    Video Goal Judge: Jerry Burt
                    Nat'l Anthem Singer: Charles Glenn
                    Standby Official: Dennis LaRue

                    Today's Schedule
                    BOS @ MTL 7:00 PM
                    DET @ NSH 6:30 PM
                    SJS @ STL 7:00 PM
                    VAN @ CGY 8:00 PM

                    Official Lounge Sponsor of Lou Brock (really) and Ryan Franklin (really)*

                    * Payment processing. It will be official soon.


                    • #14
                      McCreary? YES!

                      Charles Glenn? HELL YES!!

                      The refs for tonight definitely favor the Blues. McCreary knows how to call a playoff game. Let's hope they can play physical, disciplined hockey again and shut down the Sharks' offense.
                      You can't kill terror
                      So let's declare war
                      There's so many dead that we can't keep score


                      • #15
                        Blues could win, as long as Det does, because those series are always fun.
                        Lounge sponsor of Gary Brackett, Reggie Wayne, Henrik Zetterberg (not lounge approved) and all country music.


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