Brian Elliott made 37 saves in his second straight shutout since returning from an injury and Robby Fabbri scored the lone goal midway through the third period to give the St. Louis Blues a 1-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night.
Elliott has stopped all 56 shots he has faced against Vancouver and San Jose after missing nearly four weeks with a knee injury suffered in a loss to the Sharks last month. His return helped the Blues finish their road trip with a 3-2-0 record to remain two points behind Central Division-leading Dallas. St. Louis is four points ahead of third-place Chicago.
Martin Jones made 23 saves but the Sharks failed to convert on a late two-man advantage and missed an opportunity to clinch a playoff berth. More importantly, San Jose failed to gain ground in the Pacific Division after Los Angeles and Anaheim lost earlier in the night. The Sharks remain one point behind the second-place Ducks and five in back of the Kings.
The game was a tightly played defensive contest before St. Louis finally broke through midway through the third period. Troy Brouwer flipped the puck out of his defensive zone into neutral ice and Fabbri gained possession. He skated into the offensive zone, settled the puck in the faceoff circle and beat Jones with a high shot to the short side for his 17th goal of the season.
Fabbri's status had been in doubt after he left practice early Monday with a lower-body injury, but he was healthy enough to play and came through with the key play to give St. Louis the win.
But it didn't come easy as the Blues had to survive a late penalty kill when Carl Gunnarsson shot the puck over the glass for a delay of game with 2:45 remaining. David Backes then was called for a high-stick with 1:23 remaining, giving San Jose 38 seconds of a 6-on-3 advantage with Jones pulled.
The game had good pace early with the Blues spending lots of time in the Sharks zone. But San Jose took over the play late in the first and carried it over into the second period, holding St. Louis without a shot on goal for more than 9 minutes.
The Sharks had two power plays starting late in the first but failed to get anything past Elliott. The Blues picked up their play late in the second after drawing a high-sticking penalty from Dainius Zubrus. Alex Pietrangelo had St. Louis' best chance but missed the net with a backhand when he was alone in front.
The Sharks nearly picked up a short-handed goal. Joel Ward was taken down on a partial breakaway by David Backes but the referees let the play go and the game remained scoreless through two periods.
NOTES: The Sharks had not allowed a goal for 132:23 before Fabbri scored. ... The road team won all three games this season between the teams with San Jose winning twice in St. Louis in February. ... Sharks D Marc-Edouard Vlasic (lower body) and F Matt Nieto (hand) missed their third straight games.