ST. LOUIS – The Sharks completed a three-game season sweep of the St. Louis Blues, all in regulation, with a 4-2 win at Scottrade Center on Tuesday night.
The victory ended a four-game losing streak for the Sharks on the road (0-4-0). St. Louis fell to 13-3-2 at home, with two of its three regulation losses coming to San Jose. The Blues entered the game with the best winning percentage in the NHL.
The Sharks led 3-0 midway through regulation, but allowed the Blues back into the game before the end of the second period.
Kevin Shattenkirk’s slap shot off of a diving Andrew Desjardins’ shoulder got St. Louis on the board at 15:31 of the second, shortly after Desjardins turned it over in the defensive zone. Later, Jay Bouwmeeter’s shot from high in the zone on a four-on-four had eyes through traffic with less than a minute to go in the period.
The Sharks were able to regroup after the intermission, though, and Marty Havlat gave them a two-goal cushion at 8:19. Justin Braun’s attempt rang off of the post after it was deflected by Patrick Marleau, and Havlat deposited the loose puck from the circle.
Havlat started the game on the Joe Pavelski line but was bumped up to the Logan Couture-Marleau line in the second period. He recorded his first multiple-point game since Nov. 5.
The Sharks dominated for the first half of the game in jumping to a 3-0 lead.
Pavelski got the scoring started, when Jaroslav Halak was slow to react to a shot wide of the net by Havlat. Pavelski fipped in the rebound off of the end boards midway through the first period. The goal was Pavelski’s fourth in the last four games.
A similar goal staked the Sharks a 2-0 edge on a nice play by Matt Irwin. The defenseman brought the puck into the zone, dished it to Marleau, and went to the front of the net. Irwin was able to put in his first goal of the season when Braun’s wrist shot sailed wide at 12:34.
Brent Burns, who had just one assist in his last eight games, scored for the first time since recording his first career hat trick on Nov. 29 against St. Louis to increase the Sharks’ lead to 3-0. Burns was left alone just outside of the crease, and skated a pass from Thornton to the front of the net and found space above Halak’s shoulder at the two-minute mark of the second period.
The Sharks had a chance to essentially put the game away on a power play later in the second, when Barret Jackman went off for high-sticking at 12:24. Instead, the Blues easily killed it off, and took over for the remainder of the frame in cutting the lead to 3-2.
The Blues were playing in the second of a back-to-back, having lost in Ottawa on Monday, 3-2 in overtime. They were also without key forwards David Backes, Vladimir Sobotka and Jaden Schwartz.
San Jose beat the Blues on Oct. 15 here 6-2, and again on Nov. 29 at HP Pavilion, 6-3.
Thornton recorded his 700th point with the Sharks, assisting on Burns’ goal.
Havlat (1g, 1a), Irwin (1g, 1a), Braun (2a) and Marleau (2a) all had multiple-point nights.
San Jose was 0-for-3 on the power play while the Blues were also 0-for-3.
The Sharks have allowed three goals during four-on-four play this season, all to St. Louis.
Niemi started for the 13th time in the last 14 games, and made 20 saves to record his 18th win.
After getting the night off on Monday, Halak struggled in his sixth regulation loss, allowing four goals on 27 shots.
Tyler Kennedy and Matt Nieto were healthy scratches for the Sharks. Kennedy, who has three goals and eight assists, sat for the first time this season.
Mike Brown returned after a six-game absence with a lower body injury.
Backes, the Blues’ captain, was scratched after taking a high hit in Ottawa on Monday.
The Sharks’ three-game road trip concludes in Los Angeles on Thursday. They return home to host the Dallas Stars on Saturday and Colorado Avalanche on Monday.