Sharks aim to rebound at home against Blues

(SportsNetwork.com) - After winning for the first time in four games to close out 2014, the San Jose Sharks will try to kick off the new year by rebounding at home on Saturday night when they battle the St. Louis Blues.

The Sharks snapped an 0-2-1 stretch with a victory over the hosting Anaheim Ducks on New Year's Eve. That victory on Wednesday came one night after the club dropped a 3-1 decision to Vancouver to halt an eight-game winning streak at home.

Joe Pavelski got the Sharks on track with a pair of goals in a 3-0 win over the Ducks, while Antti Niemi made 28 saves for his third shutout of the season and 30th of his career.

Pavelski leads the Sharks with 19 goals and his 32 points trail only Joe Thornton's 33. Thornton assisted on Pavelski's first tally to push his point streak to five straight games, but also left in the first period with an upper-body injury and did not return.

Thornton's ailment isn't believed to be serious, but his status for this game is unknown.

Logan Couture added a goal and an assist against Anaheim as San Jose avoided losing four in a row for the first time since late November.

"Much better energy tonight. The formula is right there for the group," said Sharks coach Todd McLellan. "We had to have a discussion about what makes us successful and we brought it again. You can take back-to-back games and have the complete opposite. Some real good results and some poor results. If it isn't clear now it never will be. "

The Sharks have won four in a row versus the Blues, including a 3-2 overtime victory at home on Dec. 20 in the first of three meetings this season. A pair of defensemen helped secure the victory, with Marc-Adouard Vlasic tying the game with 20.6 seconds left in regulation and Brent Burns scoring with 38 ticks to go in overtime.

Niemi made 18 saves to improve to 9-6-0 with a 2.49 goals against average and .912 save percentage in his career versus the Blues.

Jake Allen stopped 27 shots for St. Louis.

St. Louis comes in having lost five straight on the road (0-4-1) as it was bested 4-3 in Anaheim by the Ducks on Friday night. Alexander Steen and Kevin Shattenkirk had a goal and an assist each in defeat, while T.J. Oshie also lit the lamp.

Martin Brodeur made 29 saves but the Blues lost for the sixth time in seven games.

"On the defensive side of the puck, we made a few mistakes that they capitalized on," said Brodeur. "They're a good hockey team. You just can't give up anything for free and we did."

Brian Elliott is expected to make his second start for the Blues tonight since suffering a knee injury on Nov. 25. He returned to action on Tuesday and posted 44 saves in a loss to Nashville.

Elliott is 2-2-1 in his career versus the Sharks with a 2.75 GAA and .915 save percentage in six games with five starts.