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Sharks snap nine-game winless streak, hurt Blues’ playoff chances with 4-0 victory

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Filip Zadina and Mikael Granlund scored goals just 27 seconds apart and the San Jose Sharks dealt a damaging blow to the St. Louis Blues’ slim playoff chances with a 4-0 win on Saturday night.

Mackenzie Blackwood made 35 saves for San Jose, which has the worst record in the NHL and snapped a nine-game winless streak with its first victory since March 9.

“It’s a good feeling to win a hockey game,” Granlund said. “Obviously, we haven’t been able to have that feeling too much this season, so we’ll take every win there is.”

Luke Kunin also scored and Jan Rutta added an empty-net goal for the Sharks, who beat St. Louis for the second time in as many tries this season. It was Blackwood’s 10th career shutout and second this season.

“Obviously the guys, you know, they’re battling hard and pushing, pushing and skating right to the end,” Blackwood said. “And last night or the other day didn’t really go our way. We played hard in the last two periods, but we didn’t get the bounces and tonight we did. So, you know, it’s nice to get rewarded for that.”

Joel Hofer made 16 saves for the Blues, who were 7-1-1 in the last nine games. Their loss wrapped up a playoff spot for Vancouver.

The Blues entered play Saturday five points behind Los Angeles for the final wild card in the Western Conference. The Kings, who have a game in hand on St. Louis, played at Calgary later Saturday.

San Jose took control with a dominant second period, outshooting St. Louis 12-3 and scoring three times.

“That’s twice against them. Columbus and Chicago and the good teams don’t do that,” Blues captain Brayden Schenn said. “That’s how you get into the playoffs, is by beating those teams. We’ve just been shooting ourselves in the foot with tough losses like that.”

Zadina capitalized on a turnover by Blues forward Zack Bolduc to break the scoreless tie at 8:30 of the second. Zadina snapped an eight-game scoring drought after hitting the post on a tip earlier in the period.

Granlund made it 2-0 seconds later, extending his points streak to four games by pouncing on the rebound of Fabian Zetterlund’s shot that bounced behind Hofer.

Kunin added to the lead with his ninth goal of the season with 2:02 left in the second. Kunin, a St. Louis native, was playing in front of a large amount of family and friends.

“Rolling puck, just threw it on net,” Kunin said. “You know, you always try to shoot those rollers, you don’t know how they’re going to come off. But yeah, it’s pretty cool always to get one you know with a lot of friends and family in the building.”

Blackwood kept the game scoreless in the early going despite the Blues outshooting the Sharks 11-3 in the first period. Blackwood got his pad on Schenn’s chance after he got behind the San Jose defense and he made saves on point-blank chances for Brandon Saad and Colton Parayko.

“He was huge for us,” Granlund said. “The first period especially, he kept us alive, and you know, when the goalie can do that, that gives a lot of energy for a team and then we got better as the game went on in the second period and obviously we’re able to close it out.”

The Sharks had just 39 seconds of offensive zone possession in the first.

“We really were on our heels in the first period,” David Quinn said. “Blacky stood tall, gave us a chance and I really thought we got our wits about us and a much better second period and then obviously we’re opportunistic as well with our chances.”

Blackwood came up big again in the third, turning away 21 shots as the Blues tried to mount a rally.

“There’s no excuses to be made,” Blues interim coach Drew Bannister said. “We just have to be better. We started the way we wanted to start. We have to be able to follow that up and have momentum going into the second. There’s no excuses at all for what happened in the second and how we fell asleep.”


Sharks: Host Seattle on Monday night.

Blues: Host Edmonton on Monday night.



Associated Press