ST. LOUIS -– Just five days after getting hammered by the Blues at home, things weren’t much better for the Sharks in the rematch at Scottrade Center on Thursday night.
In fact, they were exactly the same, judging by the scoreboard.
Seven different Blues scored goals as St. Louis again coasted to a 7-2 over San Jose. The Blues beat the Sharks last Saturday by the same margin, and have scored 20 goals in their last three games.
Playing their fourth game in six nights, and third in four, the Sharks finished their brief three-game road trip with a 2-1-0 mark. They are 2-2 since Joe Thornton –- who hopes to return on Saturday -– injured his shoulder on New Year’s Eve.
The Sharks trailed 3-1 after the first period, but scored an early second-period marker when Melker Karlsson swiped in a Logan Couture rebound for his fourth goal in as many games 29 seconds after the faceoff.
St. Louis responded, aided by some sloppy play by the Sharks, and led comfortably by the second intermission.
The Blues restored their two-goal cushion when Jori Lehtera was left wide open by Justin Braun on a rush up ice. Lehtera blasted his ninth goal past Antti Niemi at 8:52.
T.J Oshie, who lit up the Sharks with a hat trick in the previous meeting, gave St. Louis a commanding 5-2 lead at 13:20. Alexander Steen’s shot wasn’t handled by Niemi, and Oshie easily pumped it home.
Niemi, who allowed a combined 11 goals on 48 shots in his last two starts against the Blues, was pulled in favor of Alex Stalock after Oshie’s marker.
The Blues put the exclamation point on their third-straight win in the third period. Berglund scored a wraparound goal at 9:05, while a bad Brent Burns turnover eventually resulted in David Backes -– who had four goals against Arizona on Saturday –- blasting in his 14th goal.
St. Louis jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead. Steen scored on the power play at 10:38, just after Brian Elliott made a pad stop on Couture on a two-on-one shorthanded rush.
Jay Bouwmeester’s floater from the high slot with Jaden Schwartz and Couture screening Niemi at 15:06 increased the advantage.
Couture got his shorthanded goal 18:27 when be flipped a wrist shot by Elliott for his 15h of the season, but the Blues responded with another power play marker as Paul Stastny finished off a give-and-go with Oshie just 39 seconds later.
The game marked the 500th of head coach Todd McLellan’s career, all of them coming with San Jose. He became the 64th coach to reach the milestone, and his 293 wins through his first 500 games ranks third all-time behind Mike Babcock (303) and Joel Quenneville (294).
MeLellan became just the 20th coach to reach the first 500 games with only one franchise.
The Blues, opening a seven-game homestand, finished 2-0-1 against the Sharks in the season series.
St. Louis entered with the NHL’s top ranked power play unit, and struck for two more on four chances. San Jose has killed off just 12 of 21 power plays against over the last seven games.
The Sharks have now allowed multiple power play goals-against in four of their last seven games. They did it just twice through their first 35.
John Scott was called for three minor penalties, including an unsportsmanlike conduct with 45 seconds left in regulation. He was given a 10-minute misconduct after mixing it up with Ryan Reaves, who was also handed a misconduct.
San Jose had just one power play opportunity, coming in the second period while trailing 3-2. Although the top unit had some decent zone time, the Sharks are now just 2-for-32 with a man advantage in the last seven games (6.3 percent). They are 1-for-18 in the four games Thornton has missed.
Niemi fell to 9-8-0 in his career against the Blues, and 16-10-4 on the season. He allowed five goals on 21 shots. Stalock allowed two goals on seven shots in relief.
Elliott made 25 saves on 27 shots, and is 11-5-1. Jake Allen dressed as his backup while future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur did not dress for the third straight game.
Oshie increased his scoring streak to seven games. He has 13 points over that span (6g, 7a).
The Sharks made just one lineup change for the game, inserting Tye McGinn for Freddie Hamilton, who made his season debut on Tuesday.
The Sharks will face the New York Rangers at SAP Center on Saturday. On Oct. 19, Henrik Lundqvist helped lead New York to a 4-0 shutout win over San Jose at Madison Square Garden.
Longtime Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle will be playing in his first game back in San Jose since signing with the Rangers in the offseason.
The Sharks will open a stretch of eight home games out of the next nine, where they are 10-6-2, sandwiched around the All-Star break in two weeks.