Game Report: Blues 4, Sharks 0

By Nicholas Hand

With the Blues in need of a spark, coach Ken Hitchcock turned to backup goaltender Carter Hutton on the first night of a back-to-back in California Saturday night and Hutton delivered in a big way.

Hutton earned his first shutout of the season and just the second for the Blues as they defeated the Sharks in San Jose. It was the fifth shutout of Hutton’s career.

Hutton’s 23 saves and goals by Colton Parayko, David Perron, Jori Lehtera and Alexander Steen lifted the Blues to the win along with a solid defensive performance throughout the lineup.

Before the game, the Blues stressed the importance of solid defensive play early on. They achieved that goal in a scoreless first period in which St. Louis outshot the Sharks 10-7.

The Blues struck first on Parayko’s second goal of the season on the power play at 5:27 of the second period. Parayko blistered a slap shot from the point that deflected off of Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s stick and past San Jose goaltender Martin Jones.

Perron increased the lead to 2-0 midway through the second period on a rebound opportunity following a Parayko shot from the point that hit the side of the net. Perron corralled the rebound and stuffed it past the short side of Jones.

Lehtera gave the Blues breathing room with his fifth goal of the season at 9:16 of the third period on a deflection of an Alex Pietrangelo slap shot.

Steen put the game away with an empty net goal with 5:23 remaining in regulation.

Of Note:
The Blues have not lost three straight regular season games in regulation since Feb. 22-27, 2016 of last season… The Blues previously allowed four or more goals in their previous four contests… Sharks center Joe Thornton received a major penalty and a game misconduct for spearing Blues center Paul Stastny in the second period… Dmitrij Jaskin returned to the lineup and played 11:47 in fourth line duty with Scottie Upshall a healthy scratch… Nail Yakupov was inserted on a line with Lehtera and Vladimir Tarasenko and was a plus-1 seeing 12:15 of ice time. The Blues are 4-0 this season with Lehtera scores a goal.

Looking Ahead:
The Blues travel to Anaheim and take on the Ducks at the Honda Center on Sunday night.