– Danny Heatley blocked a shot and then sped away for a
breakaway goal with 53.9 seconds left in overtime to lift the San
Jose Sharks by the St. Louis Blues 2-1 at sold-out HP Pavilion.
SAN JOSE – Danny Heatley blocked a shot and then sped away for a breakaway goal with 53.9 seconds left in overtime to lift the San Jose Sharks by the St. Louis Blues 2-1 at sold-out HP Pavilion.
The victory gave San Jose a seven-point lead over Phoenix in the Pacific Division and left the team tied with Chicago at 53 points atop the NHL standings.
Heatley, ninth in the NHL in scoring entering play, was late into a shift as the first four minutes of the 4-on-4 overtime elapsed. When Heatley moved in front of Blues sniper Andy McDonald at the left point in the Sharks zone, McDonald tried to send a slapshot through traffic toward the net. Instead, Heatley kicked the shot away toward center ice.
Heatley chased down the puck and sped toward the Blues net with three St. Louis defenders chasing him. Heatley kept enough distance between himself and the chasers to be able to snap a shot inside the left post from 15 feet out for his 25th goal of the season.
San Jose hosts the Detroit Red Wings Saturday at 7:30pm before playing in Los Angeles and Phoenix Monday and Tuesday.
The Blues brought a five-game losing streak into the contest. Davis Payne was behind the bench for a second game for St. Louis, having replaced the fired Andy Murray last weekend.
San Jose garnered a 12-7 edge in shots on net in the scoreless first period. Torrey Mitchell, playing in his 100th NHL game, broke loose for a breakway during a penalty kill at 9:59 of the period but was stopped by goalie Chris Mason. Joe Pavelski sliced through the Blues defense before putting point-blank shot on net that Mason deflected away at 10:22.
McDonald, the 32-year-old St. Louis center, was a principal character on both goals that left the clubs even at 1-1 by the end of regulation.
St. Lous took a 1-0 lead on McDonald’s power play goal 6:45 into the second period.
Douglas Murray was called for high-sticking at 6:32. After the face-off, McDonald chased across the Sharks crease and was behind Evgeni Nabokov as the goalie moved toward his left post. Nabokov was unable to get back into the net immediately, but defenseman Rob Blake was positioned in the goal area and stopped a hard shot from David Backes. The rebound off Blake fell outside the crease and McDonald was able to one-time the puck past Blake for the 1-0 Blues lead.
McDonald went to the penalty box for holding Heatley at 11:35 of the third period. San Jose needed 1:16 to come up with the equalizer. Ryane Clowe sent the puck from the left flank in the San Jose zone to Dan Boyle atop the left circle. Boyle faked a shot and slipped the puck across the ice to Patrick Marleau. The winger’s one-timer flew into the top right corner of the net, leaving Marleau tied atop the league in goals at 28 with Ranger Marian Goborik.
Nabokov made 28 saves while moving to 24-6-7.
“They play us hard every time we’ve played them the last three years,” Nabokov said of the St. Louis effort. “We had to meet the challenge.”