ST. LOUIS – The Sharks kept their record perfect with a 6-2 over the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night at Scottrade Center, but that result was secondary after to a scary injury to veteran defenseman Dan Boyle.
In the first period, Boyle was on the receiving end of a hit from behind from the Blues’ Maxim Lapierre, who was promptly tossed from the game at 5:22. Boyle did not move for several moments as team trainers from both clubs attended to him and left the ice on a stretcher, but it was later learned he was alert, responsive and able to move his extremities on the way to a local hospital.
The Sharks went on to claim the win against a team in which they had lost six of their last seven regular season games, led by a goal and two assists each from Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. San Jose is now 6-0-0, and gave the Blues (4-1-0) their first loss.
The Blues had not trailed in any of their first four wins, all at home.
Logan Couture’s power play goal at 9:37 of the first opening the scoring with the Blues still killing off the major penalty to Lapierre. Less than a minute later, Joe Pavelski scored with Jay Bouwmeester off on a high-sticking minor to make it 2-0.
The Sharks doubled up that lead in the second. Tommy Wingels got credit for his second goal when the puck went in off of Barret Jackman’s skate at 8:34. Defenseman Scott Hannan’s blast snuck through Jaroslav Halak at 17:13 to give San Jose a commanding lead at the break.
Thornton scored his first of the season at 5:06, going top shelf after a pass from Tomas Hertl. He also assisted on the Couture and Hannan markers.
Goals from Vladimir Tarasenko and Roman Polak cut into the Sharks’ lead, but Patrick Marleau capped the scoring with a late power play goal.
The game featured two of the three remaining unbeaten NHL teams, and the tone was set early with a pair of big hits. Wingels ran Jackman with a hard body check behind the Blues’ net, and moments later Matt Nieto was hammered by Vladimir Tarasenko. The Boyle injury happened about a minute and a half later.
Couture and Marleau are the only Sharks to have at least a point in each of the first six games.
The Sharks have won their last 24 games when scoring at least two power play goals, including three games this season. They finished the night 3-for-7.
San Jose killed off all four St. Louis advantages. That unit was most impressive after a Jason Demers holding penalty at 11:37 of the second period with the Sharks holding a 3-0 lead. They blocked four shots, including two by Pavelski, as the Blues desperately tried to get back into the game.
St. Louis entered the game with the league’s top power play.
Antti Niemi became the first NHL goaltender to six wins, and has played every minute of every game. He stopped 25 of 27 shots.
Halak allowed four goals on 26 shots before giving way to Brian Elliott to start the third. Elliott allowed two goals on 13 shots in his first action of the season.
Brad Stuart served the third game of his three-game suspension. Bracken Kearns was recalled on Tuesday morning, but did not play.
The Sharks began a stretch of seven road games out of eight total. They visit Dallas on Thursday and host the Calgary Flames on Saturday.