Sharks beat Blues 4-2 to sweep season series

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 17, 2013 at 11:15 pm •  Published: December 17, 2013
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Antti Niemi thinks the San Jose Sharks have finally found the key to beating the St. Louis Blues.

It's all about familiarity.

"It took a while, but now we know how they play and that's what's made us better against them," Niemi said. "We're feeling comfortable when we face them."

Niemi made 20 saves and Joe Pavelski scored the first of three straight San Jose goals to lead the Sharks to a 4-2 victory Tuesday night. San Jose completed a season sweep of the Blues, winning all three games by a combined 16-7.

"It's really good to get the three wins against a tough team," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "A lot of different variables went into the three nights. Fortunately for us, we got the (six) points."

St. Louis, which got goals from Kevin Shattenkirk and Jay Bouwmeester, had won six of seven against San Jose entering this season. But the Sharks have turned it around, winning 6-3 and 6-2 in the first two meetings.

Matt Irwin, Brent Burns and Marty Havlat added goals for the Sharks, who led 3-0 after 22 minutes.

Niemi improved to 18-6-6. He held off the Blues when they had a 6-on-4 skating advantage in the closing 2 minutes.

"This was big for us," Niemi said. "We got in front, then reset our game and got the win."

The Blues were playing their third game in four nights. San Jose had been in St. Louis since Sunday after losing in Nashville on Saturday.

"They're a really good team and they could have been a little tired," Sharks center Joe Thornton said. "We started fast and we played good enough to win."

The Sharks jumped to a 2-0 first-period lead on goals by Pavelski and Irwin in a span of 2:56. Both came from close range on rebounds of missed shots that caromed off the end boards.

Pavelski scored his 13th after a miss by Havlat, and Irwin jumped on a misfire from Justin Braun for his first of the season.

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