McDonald helps Blues tune out Sharks - The Hockey News on Sports Illustrated

McDonald helps Blues tune out Sharks

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ST. LOUIS (Ticker) -- If the St. Louis Blues find their way into

the playoffs, goalie Chris Mason says they should be plenty

tested.

"We've been doing this for two months trying to get back in it,

so it has that intensity," said Mason, who helped the Blues

continue their playoff push Thursday by making 24 saves in a 3-1

win over the San Jose Sharks. "It is playoffs for us, otherwise

we don't get in. It's good preparation for when we do get

there."

The Blues are getting closer, entering the game three points out

of a playoff spot. The Blues are 2-0 on their four-game

homestand and three games over .500 (31-28-8) for the first time

since October 18, when they were 4-1.

"We just got to keep going," Mason said. "Playing games that

mean something every night is just unbelievable."

Andy McDonald had a goal and an assist, Brad Boyes scored his

team-leading 28th goal and Barret Jackman added an empty-netter

for St. Louis.

Patrick Marleau scored his 35th goal for San Jose, which has

slipped to second in the Western Conference during a 1-4-1 skid.

"They were pretty hungry out there," Marleau said of the Blues.

"I think they were trying to get their forecheck going early and

they were getting the puck in. I thought we did a good job of

not letting the pressure get to us, but we made a couple of

mistakes and they capitalized on them."

Brian Boucher, playing in place of No. 1 goalie Evgeni Nabokov,

made 23 saves for the Sharks. Nabokov missed his fifth straight

game due to an undisclosed lower body injury.

With the teams skating 4-on-4, Boyes gave the Blues the lead for

good. McDonald led a rush into the San Jose zone and fed the

puck to Boyes, who snapped a wrist shot from the high slot past

Boucher at 13:22 of the second period to make it 2-1.

Boyes admitted that he was not sure whether the puck had gotten

by Boucher.

"I didn't really see," he said. "I kind of waited and heard the

crowd and saw them get up and I knew it went in."

Jackman sealed St. Louis' victory when he scored into an empty

net on a shot from his end with 25.1 seconds left.

"It was a good game and a tight game," San Jose coach Todd

McLellan said. "Unfortunately, we came out on the short end."

San Jose, which came into the game ranked second in the NHL on

the power play (24.4 percent), took a 1-0 lead 11:30 in with the

man advantage. Christian Ehrhoff got the puck in the left

circle off a faceoff and centered to Marleau in the slot.

Marleau then beat Mason with a wrist shot.

The Blues tied it at 16:48, when David Perron and McDonald

executed a perfect 2-on-1 break. Perron brought the puck in on

right wing and passed cross-ice to McDonald, who deked Boucher

and slid the puck under him.

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