SAN JOSE -- It was a back-and-forth affair between the Sharks and the Blues at SAP Center on Saturday night in their first meeting since last spring's Western Conference final. And in the end, St. Louis emerged victorious once again.
San Jose entered the third period tied up 2-2 with the reigning Stanley Cup champions, but another late-game let-up cost them in the end as Team Teal lost yet again, this time 5-2.
Here are three takeaways from Saturday night's game.
Sure, the Sharks got a ton of offensive zone time in the early portion of Saturday's game. But heading into the third period tied with much-needed points on the line -- and a lingering bad habit of falling flat late in games -- the Sharks needed to play their best hockey in the final 20 minutes.
Unfortunately, the third period against St. Louis mirrored their third period earlier this week against Arizona. San Jose's defense was well-positioned for the bulk of the evening, but one relaxed moment in the third allowed Alex Pietrangelo to break the tie and give the Blues the lead. Then, the Sharks couldn't convert on yet another late-game power-play opportunity
Long story short: The Sharks did good things against the Blues but, once again, couldn't finish strong.
Not enough in net
Martin Jones entered Saturday's game with a 12-13-1 record and a .888 save percentage. After sitting the last two games behind Aaron Dell, Jones really needed to have a strong showing against St. Louis.
Ultimately, Jones played the same as he did in previous starts. While the defense in front of him left him vulnerable at times, the starting netminder is also partially responsible for yet another late goal finding the back of San Jose's net.
On a positive note ...
Good first impression
In Stefan Noesen's first game with the Sharks, he wasted no time making an impact. Noesen scored a huge goal in the second period off a beautiful stretch pass from Brenden Dillon, which tied the score up 2-2.
Noesen's presence also gave a visible boost to San Jose's bottom six. The Sharks have struggled all season to find a consistently effective fourth line. While it will take a couple more games to see if Noesen really has provided some much-needed depth, the fourth line looked better on Saturday night than it has in a while.