Sharks Trying To Avoid Seven Game Losing Streak

(Sports Network) - The Blues got some key goals from a pair of players who don't score much to end their recent losing streak. Hopefully the skidding Sharks took some notes.

San Jose hopes to avoid its first seven-game winless stretch in over five years, while St. Louis hopes to make it back-to-back wins tonight at HP Pavilion.

Winners of the last three Pacific Division titles, the Sharks are currently 10 points back of first place in the standings as well as four points out of a playoff spot. San Jose's 5-2 setback to Edmonton on Thursday was the club's sixth straight in regulation, it's longest stretch without a win since going 0-5-1 on March 13-21.

Joe Thornton and Ryane Clowe scored for the Sharks and Antero Niittymaki stopped 24-of-29 shots faced as the Sharks also dropped their sixth in a row at home. They wrap a three-game residency tonight and are now 10-10-3 at HP Pavilion this year.

Head coach Todd McLellan may be forced to make some changes to get his team going and absorbed some of the blame for this losing streak on Thursday.

"Right now I'm not doing a very good job," McLellan said. "I have to find better buttons to push ... I have to do a better job."

San Jose has not dropped seven in a row since an 0-7-3 slide from Nov. 5-30, 2005. Prior to the final game of that skid, the Sharks acquired Thornton from Boston.

Such a high-impact move isn't likely prior to this meeting, so the Sharks will have to use what they already have to get on track. They could use contributions from the deep parts of the roster, similar to what the Blues got in Thursday's 3-1 victory in Los Angeles that halted a five-game slide.

Ryan Reaves scored the game-winning goal in the victory, his second in as many games since being recalled from Peoria of the American Hockey League on Tuesday. His two tallies are the first of his career.

"I'm settling in a little bit, trying to get to know the guys," said Reaves, who also had a goal in Wednesday's 7-4 loss to Anaheim that began a three-game road trip.

B.J. Crombeen also provided some unexpected offense with his first goal since Nov. 27 -- a span of 20 games between tallies -- while Jaroslav Halak made 24 saves.

St. Louis had won five straight prior to its 0-4-1 stretch and has still lost six of its last nine on the road. That has the Blues three points back of the eighth spot in the Western Conference and one up on the Sharks.

The Blues' Carlo Colaiacovo did not play on Thursday after getting hit in the face by a pick versus the Ducks. He is questionable for tonight.

Halak had a 25-save shutout versus the Sharks at home back on Nov. 4, but San Jose evened the season series with a 4-1 triumph at Scottrade Center on Dec. 18.

Halak is 2-1-0 with a 2.00 goals-against average versus San Jose, which has won four of six and 11 of the past 15 games in this series. The Blues have also lost five of their last six at HP Pavilion.

San Jose's Logan Couture scored twice in the December win, but he missed Thursday's game with a lower-body injury. Couture leads all rookies with 19 goals.

Niittymaki, who has lost three straight decisions, beat the Blues in December with 21 saves, improving to 3-1-0 with a 2.51 GAA against them.

Fellow Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi has lost his last four starts and was the tough-luck loser in St. Louis on Nov. 4. He is 2-2-0 with a 3.04 GAA versus the Blues.

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