SAN JOSE – Coach Peter DeBoer said the Sharks' matchup with the St. Louis Blues would test his team – and boy, he wasn’t kidding. San Jose went back-and-forth with St. Louis in a fast-paced contest Saturday afternoon, and it came right down to the wire. In the end, Kevin Labanc played the hero by tallying the game-winner in overtime to lift the Sharks to a 3-2 victory.
Here are three takeaways from the matinee:
Blues goaltending at the forefront
DeBoer told the media before Saturday’s contest one of the Sharks’ biggest challenges was going to be breaking through the Blues’ goaltending.
“They're playing with that confidence great goaltending gives you,” he said. “It's a good test for us."
San Jose had to grind to get the puck past Jake Allen, who made colossal saves throughout the game – including a few notable stops in the final minutes of the third period as the Sharks tried to break a 2-2 tie. Ultimately, they stepped up to the challenge of getting past a hot netminder.
On that same note …
Credit to third-period play
You really do have to hand it to the Sharks. They’ve been turning on the jets late in the games on their current homestand, despite the fact they’ve been missing key players due to injury and a chunk of the team suffered from the flu.
San Jose heavily outshot St. Louis in the third period on Saturday, holding the visitors to just two shots on goal for the majority of the frame. The Sharks' efforts in the final minutes of regulation were particularly impressive, as they continued to pepper Allen with chances.
For a team that expects to go deep into the playoffs, this is a trend they’ll want to continue.
Timo time, times two
The Swiss forward is back to that dominant level he reached at the beginning of the season. He scored both of San Jose’s regulation goals in the first period – one on the power play, and the other after catching a sweet back-handed pass from Logan Couture.
Meier was gunning for that third goal for the rest of the game, only to be stymied by a clearly in-the-zone Allen. While he still hasn’t tallied his first career NHL hat trick, Meier is heating back up at just the right time.