SAN JOSE -– Only one team could prevail in a matchup that featured a pair of the NHL’s hottest clubs that entered with a combined 13 wins in their past 15 games.
That team was the San Jose Sharks.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic tied the game late in regulation, and Brent Burns’ power play goal won it 3-2 on Saturday night over the St. Louis Blues.
The Sharks completed a perfect 5-0 homestand, and have won nine of their last 10 overall, all in regulation/overtime.
Prior to overtime, the Sharks tied the game with 20.6 seconds to go in the third period and goaltender Antti Niemi pulled for an extra attacker. Joe Thornton found Vlasic at the point, and the defenseman’s shot fluttered into the back of the net with Joe Pavelski setting a screen.
Burns’ deciding marker came on a blast from high in the zone at 4:22 of overtime, after Pavelski drew a trip on Alex Steen to give San Jose a man advantage.
San Jose has won eight in a row at home and are 10-4-2 at SAP Center, where they had the best home record in the Western Conference last season.
After an uneventful first period, the Sharks struck first in the middle frame. Andrew Desjardins was able to squeak a shot past Jake Allen’s short side at 10:47 of the second period, after receiving perfect bank pass from the neutral zone by Justin Braun on a shot that the Blues’ goaltender should have eaten up.
San Jose had been controlling play for much of the second period to that point, but the Blues came on after the goal and eventually took the lead.
First, Alex Pietrangelo ripped a slapper from the point that Niemi got squarely with his blocker through traffic, but Patrik Berglund was able to swipe in the rebound at 14:29.
A few minutes later Burns was caught deep and Thornton overextended a shift, leading to Ott’s breakaway marker at 17:21. Maxim Lapierre sprung Ott for his first goal of the season in his 32nd game.
Allen did all he could to prevent the tying goal in the third period. Pavelski failed to take advantage of a T.J. Oshie turnover, as his wrist shot was knocked away by Allen’s glove with 13:50 to go.
Tomas Hertl, who set up Pavelski for that earlier opportunity, couldn’t push a loose puck in the slot past the goaltender with 5:04 to go in regulation.
The Sharks didn’t get their first shot on goal until 3:38 left in the first period, when Allen stopped Barclay Goodrow’s wrister from the circle. San Jose had just two shots on goal in the opening period to St. Louis’ eight.
Niemi, coming off of a rough outing against Edmonton on Thursday, stopped Jori Lehtera with about a minute left in the first with a quick left pad to keep it scoreless at the intermission.
San Jose and St. Louis will see each other twice more over the next few weeks, on Jan. 3 at SAP Center and Jan. 8 at Scottrade Center. The Sharks swept the three-game season series last year, outscoring the Blues 16-7.
The Sharks announced a sellout crowd of 17,562, ending a streak of 10 consecutive non-sellouts.
The Sharks were 1-for-3 on the power play.
They had several chances to open the scoring on a power play in the second period, tallying six shots on Allen while Lehtera was off for high-sticking Logan Couture. Pavelski had a few good looks, but couldn’t slip one by.
San Jose did not take a single penalty and was not shorthanded for the first time this season, avoiding the Blues’ third-ranked power play that entered with 10 goals in 22 chances over the last six games.
Niemi has won his last seven starts. He rebounded from a tough game against Edmonton on Thursday, making 18 saves.
Allen allowed three goals on 30 shots. He was backed up by recent addition and future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur, who took the loss in Los Angeles on Thursday.
Rookie Chris Tierney came out of the lineup in favor of Tye McGinn. Desjardins shifted back to center McGinn and John Scott on the fourth line.
Blues captain David Backes played in his 600th career NHL game.
St. Louis’ leading scorer Vladimir Tarasenko saw a seven-game point streak (6g, 5a) come to an end.
San Jose visits Anaheim on Monday in the final game before a four-day break for Christmas. The Sharks have won their first two games of their season series with the Ducks, including the only other game at Honda Center on Oct. 26 in a penalty-filled affair, 4-1.
After a stretch of 11 of 13 at home, the Sharks will play six of their next eight on the road.