The Sharks found themselves in the perfect position this afternoon. They were one point behind the Flames for the first spot in the division. As Saturday’s early slate of games got started the Sharks were the last one of the two to end at 7 PM(EST).
The Sharks took on the St. Louis Blues another team looking to gain some traction in the Central division and making a run for the playoffs. The Sharks and Blues have played two times before their final meeting of the regular season. The Blues took the first one 4-0, Sharks won the second one 4-0. But the last time these tow played was November 17th, 2018. Fast forward three and a half months. The Sharks were at 88 points heading into Saturdays game and ended up leaving with 90 points and the Pacific division.
The game started a little slow with no action in the first 10 minutes. Patrick Maroon of the Blues scored his 5th goal (power play). Five and a half minutes later the Sharks found themselves on the power play in which Timo Meier found his 25th of the season and tied the game all up at one. Moments to go (26.7 seconds) in the 1st period Meier scored his 2nd of the game and career high 26th goal of the season. Meier started the break out followed up by Logan Couture play in the neutral zone and after the Sharks gained offensive zone pressure and completed a cycle, Meier went to the net and found a perfectly placed puck on his stick sent by Couture to make the game 2-1.
With literal seconds to go in the 2nd period the Blues tied the game at two off a Brayden Schenn (13) power play goal. Schenn gathered the puck on the wall, drove the net and meant to pass the puck across the crease to Tyler Bozak but Sharks defenseman intercepted it but just left it there. In which Schenn picked it up and back handed it home for a 2-2 game.
In the third period the Sharks were clearly frustrated and not happy with the Blues 2 seconds to spare second period goal. The Sharks peppered Jake Allen with 15 shots in the 3rd period but Allen turned away all 15, stopping 30 of 33 shots in Saturday’s game. Both sides could not find the back of the net, the Blues only managed 4 shots in the third period and 19 all game.
The game went to 3 v 3 overtime. The Sharks re-gathered in the neutral zone, Hertl started with the puck, Kevin Labanc and Logan Couture swung to gather speed. Labanc went middle, Couture went wide, Lebanc dished it to Couture and drove the net for a pass back and the game-winning goal(12).
The power play was a huge key in this game as both teams converted on their power play chances and a major reason the game went to overtime. The Blues went 2/3 on the man advantage, the Sharks 1/2. The Blues won the face-off circle 60 percent to 40 percent, Blues out hit the Sharks 19 to 14, Blues had less giveaways 10 to 12 and more takeaways 14 to 12. But the Sharks dominated in shots 33 to 19 without Allen’s stellar third period it could have been a 5-2 game.
The Sharks now have control of first place in the Pacific division. With 12 games remaining the Sharks have a chance to avoid the former Stanley Cup appearing Golden Knights and play a weaker first round opponent. The Sharks have the Wild, Jets, Florida, Nashville, Vegas(2), Kings, Anaheim, Detroit, Chicago, Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton and Colorado to finish the season. Based off their schedule they are at a great advantage here as long as they beat Vegas and Calgary when they play them in March they should remain in first place.