Series (Game 2 of 4)

St. Louis leads 3-1

Game 1: Monday, November 25th
Game 2: Thursday, January 9th
Game 3: Saturday, February 8th
Game 4: Tuesday, March 11th

Blues 4

(22-12-3, 52 pts)

Sharks 1

(15-18-3, 38 pts)

10:30 PM ET, January 9, 2003

SAP Center, San Jose, California

1 2 3 T
STL 1 1 24
SJ 1 0 01

K. Tkachuk (Blues - LW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

D. Weight (Blues - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

B. Jackman (Blues - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

Blues get rare win on the road

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- While Keith Tkachuk scored the big goals and Brent Johnson made the big saves, Barret Jackman did the dirty work for the St. Louis Blues.

Keith Tkachuk

Tkachuk scored twice, and Johnson stopped 21 shots as the Blues beat the slumping San Jose Sharks 4-1 Thursday night, but St. Louis owed its victory to its rookie defenseman who wouldn't bite when the Sharks wanted to fight.

Pavol Demitra added a power-play goal and an assist for the Blues, who capitalized on penalties by the hotheaded Sharks to win for just the second time in seven road games.

Though he had just one assist on the scoresheet, Jackman was praised by his teammates for keeping his head under the pressure of constant hounding from Sharks captain Owen Nolan. Eventually, Jackman drew the penalty that led to the Blues' go-ahead goal.

"He's a tough kid, he really is,'' Tkachuk said. "He's good at what he does, and he's got a lot of poise.''

Jackman, a rookie defenseman who has taken a big role for the Blues during Chris Pronger's absence, won a first-period fight with Nolan and landed several big hits on the boards. The Sharks' notoriously emotional forward repeatedly prodded Jackman for a rematch.

"The first time, I didn't mind fighting him, but after that, I have nothing to prove,'' Jackman said. "It is tough, but you've got to look back at your bench and realize you've got 19 other guys. I feel most nights, I'm more valuable on the ice than I am in the penalty box.''

Late in the second period, the Blues were handed a 5-on-3 power play when Nolan punched Jackman in the face with a gloved hand, and Scott Thornton smacked Jackman twice after the whistle. Tkachuk needed nine seconds to score unchecked on a close-range shot, snapping a 1-1 tie.

"Sometimes in the heat of battle, you lose your cool,'' said Nolan, who racked up 11 of the Sharks' 23 minutes in penalties. "I didn't realize Scott got called on it, too, but suddenly they were working 5-on-3. We tried to play with emotion, and it backfired on us.''

Scott Mellanby and Doug Weight each had two assists for the Blues, who are two games into a five-game road trip -- their longest of the season. Martin Rucinsky added an empty-net goal with 5.1 seconds left.

Vincent Damphousse scored his first goal in a month for San Jose, winless in four straight during a disappointing eight-game homestand. At the midway point of their season, the Sharks are in 12th place in the Western Conference, eight points out of the playoff race.

In an eight-day span, the Sharks were emphatically beaten by West contenders Dallas, Colorado and St. Louis. San Jose's homestand ends Saturday night against Vancouver, though seven of the Sharks' following 10 games also are at home.

"We tried a physical approach, and they got us,'' Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "They scored on a 5-on-3, and that broke us. We seem to fall into these `Woe is me' modes.''

Demitra scored during a first-period power play, and Tkachuk added another goal in the third period moments after another power play ended. San Jose, the NHL's worst penalty-killing team, has allowed 10 power-play goals in six games.

Meanwhile, the Blues have scored 17 power-play goals in their last 12 games.

"We're pleased with our road trip to date, and our power play is continuing to provide us with a lot of offense,'' St. Louis coach Joel Quenneville said.

Evgeni Nabokov, starting for the 25th time in 26 games, made 27 saves for San Jose.

Damphousse ended a 13-game goal drought just 3:45 in when he beat Johnson from the slot during a power play. It was just the second power-play goal by the Sharks in 29 chances.

Game notes

St. Louis was 1-3-1-1 in its previous six road games. ... LW Adam Graves, with eight points and a minus-9 rating in 41 games, has been demoted to the Sharks' fourth line. ... Sharks D Jim Fahey got his first NHL assist on Damphousse's goal. ... The Blues are an NHL-best 14-4-2-1 when their opponents score first.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press