Sharks

Instant Replay: Sharks feel the blues in loss to St. Louis

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USATSI

Instant Replay: Sharks feel the blues in loss to St. Louis

BOX SCORE

ST. LOUIS – Jaden Schwartz scored twice in leading the St. Louis Blues to a 3-2 win over the Sharks on Thursday night at Scottrade Center, in the first matchup between the clubs since last season’s Western Conference Final.

The Sharks have lost two straight, dropping to 3-2 on their longest road trip of the season, which concludes on Saturday in Arizona.

Special teams was the difference, as David Perron’s marker on the power play put the Blues ahead to stay in the second period. The Sharks were a season-worst 0-for-6, including the final 55 seconds of regulation after a delay of game penalty to Kyle Brodziak.

St. Louis scored twice in the second period to seize a 3-2 lead, which is where the score would remain.

Schwartz broke a 1-1 tie. After the Sharks’ fourth line was caught in its own zone and failed on a couple chances to clear, Schwartz’s wrist shot made its way through traffic at 8:45, giving St. Louis its first lead.

The Sharks responded just 19 seconds later. Justin Braun softly pushed the puck ahead where it found Kevin Labanc in the slot, the rookie turned around and flicked it through Jake Allen for his first career NHL goal.

San Jose had a pair of power plays after tying it at 2-2, but couldn’t find a way to re-take the lead. Instead, after Mikkel Boedker’s interference nullified the end of a Sharks advantage, Perron’s wrist shot on a Blues power play made it 3-2. Martin Jones, who didn’t play on Tuesday in Carolina, should have stopped it.

The goal ended the Sharks’ penalty kill streak at 11-plus games, and 26 kills overall.

Forward Tomas Hertl did not play after Perron’s goal, and was seen limping to the dressing room.

The teams traded first period scores. Logan Couture’s first even strength goal of the season on a rush by his line line at 6:16 opened the scoring, but St. Louis responded with the first of Schwartz’s tallies on a shot from the high slot at 10:38.

Special teams

The Sharks fell shy of setting a new franchise record on the penalty kill, going 11 straight games before Perron ended the impressive run. St. Louis was 1-for-4.

On the power play, San Jose is 1-for-17 in its last six games, and 2-for-24 in the last eight road games.

Joel Ward replaced Patrick Marleau on the top unit in the third period.

In goal

Jones saw his personal three-game winning streak halted, allowing three goals on 25 shots.

Allen allowed two goals on 29 shots, and has gone 13 straight home games allowing two or fewer goals.

Lineup

The Sharks rearranged all of their forward lines for the game, as Labanc played on the top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski, and the scuffling Boedker was bumped to the fourth line.

Melker Karlsson missed his second straight game with a lower body injury.

St. Louis was without Alex Steen due to an undisclosed injury. Leading scorer Vladimir Tarasenko, who was questionable for the game, did play. His six-game point streak came to an end.

Up next

The Sharks will practice on Friday before Saturday’s game in Arizona. They lost to the Coyotes in the first meeting there on Nov. 1, 3-2.

San Jose hosts the Devils on Monday.

Brenden Dillon breaks down when asked about potential Sharks trade

Brenden Dillon breaks down when asked about potential Sharks trade

Brenden Dillon might have played last home game with the Sharks on Monday, and that clearly was weighing on him afterward.

Dillon can become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and the defenseman has been linked with playoff contenders ahead of the NHL trade deadline. The Sharks, barring a near-miraculous push, almost certainly will miss the Stanley Cup playoffs, leading to speculation that they'll trade Dillon before the Feb. 24 deadline. 

The possibility becomes more real as the deadline nears, but that doesn't mean Dillon is having an easier time processing it. 

"I don't know. Kind of [have to] see what happens. ... I like being here," Dillon said, his voice cracking as he teared up. "I try to play hard every night. It's out of my control."

The Sharks acquired Dillon in a November 2014 trade, and he has called San Jose home ever since. Dillon emerged as a fixture on the Sharks' blue line, playing in at least 76 regular-season games -- and all 60 of their playoff games -- from 2015 through 2019. The 29-year-old has played in all 59 games for the Sharks this season, too, and San Jose has become his home.

[RELATED: Sharks' Couture will have test to determine practice return]

Trading pending unrestricted free agents is par for the course for teams on the outside looking in at the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but Dillon's emotions Monday starkly highlighted the very real costs of making trades. Players are asked to uproot their lives at the drop of a hat, leaving behind friends, colleagues and often family. 

Yes, trades are a part of the business. The real and raw reactions are, too. 

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 5-3 matinee loss to Panthers

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 5-3 matinee loss to Panthers

The Sharks couldn't bring their winning ways back from the road to San Jose, losing 5-3 to the Florida Panthers in a Presidents' Day matinee. 

Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky was on the case, stopping 29 of 32 Sharks shots. San Jose cut Florida's lead to a goal two different times in the third period, but the Ice Cats pulled away and doubled their lead in both instances. 

Here are three takeaways from the Sharks' loss in their final home game before the trade deadline. 

Too little, too late

The Sharks entered the third period trailing by a goal. They allowed a Panthers goal before getting a single shot on net in the final frame, and Bobrovsky didn't have to make his first save until there was 6:37 remaining in regulation and Florida had a two-goal lead. 

Kevin Labanc -- on the power play -- and Timo Meier -- with goaltender Aaron Dell pulled -- got the Sharks within one, but San Jose never generated much of a third-period push at full strength. Florida ultimately held a 10-5 advantage in 5-on-5 shots and a 6-4 edge in 5-on-5 scoring chances, according to Natural Stat Trick. 

The Sharks applied pressure after Meier's goal, but the push needed to come much sooner. The Panthers instead set the tone from the start of the third period onward, and Florida took two points as a result. 

True chemistry

Dylan Gambrell and Alexander True appear to be developing some solid chemistry. The pair were on the ice for a 5-on-5 Sharks goal for the third straight game, when True's forechecking allowed linemate Antti Suomela to set up Gambrell's second goal in as many games. 

Suomela left in the second period with an injury and didn't return, but Gambrell and True were strong together. The duo posted a 60 percent corsi-for percentage in 5:34 of 5-on-5 time, according to Natural Stat Trick, out-chancing the Panthers 4-2 during that time. 

True has played in just six NHL games, but he and Gambrell have brought the best out of one another in their short time together. It's worth keeping the pair together in the bottom-six once Evander Kane returns from his suspension. 

[RELATED: Sharks' Couture will have test to determine practice return]

End of an era? 

Monday was the Sharks' last home game before the trade deadline, and they could look much different when they next play in San Jose on Feb. 27. Pending free agents Brenden Dillon and Melker Karlsson could get shipped to Stanley Cup contenders in need of depth, but the real question is whether or not the Sharks will trade franchise legends Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. 

Both are 40 and nearing the end of their careers. Could the Sharks give them the Ray Bourque treatment, and trade them to a team with Cup aspirations? The Sharks want to be back in the mix in 2021, but this spring might represent the last real chance for the No. 1 and No. 2 selections in the 1997 NHL Draft to lift the Stanley Cup for the first time in their careers. 

Thornton, for his part, told reporters Sunday that he didn't think Monday would be his last game as a Shark at SAP Center. The call should be Thornton and Marleau's alone, given all they've done for the franchise, and we'll know a week from Monday if they'll finish out the season -- and potentially their careers -- in San Jose.