Alex Steen

Sharks’ McLellan: ‘We have to get better in a lot of areas’


Just five days after losing 7-2 on home ice to the Blues, the San Jose Sharks were spanked by the same score Thursday night in St. Louis.

Alex Steen, Jay Bouwmeester and Paul Stastny gave the Blues a 3-1 lead after one period.

Jori Lehtera restored the two-goal lead after Melker Karlsson had pulled the Sharks to within one and T.J. Oshie made it 5-2 after 40 minutes.

Patrik Berglund and David Backes scored third period goals while Brian Elliott made 24 saves for the win.

“For us, the two games against St. Louis give us an indication of where we’re at as a club, and where we need to go,” Sharks’ coach Todd McLellan said post-game. “There’s some high-end players on our team that really have to pick it up, and there’s also some role players that have to pick it up.

“We all have to grow as a group, and we have to get better in a lot of areas if we expect to compete against teams like St. Louis. Right now, it would be hard to find a team better than that.”

Logan Couture had the Sharks other goal while Antti Niemi made 16 saves on 21 shots before being replaced by Alex Stalock.

“You can sit here and make every single excuse in the book, but to lose 7-2 is unacceptable with this team that we have,” Couture said. “We just got beat, plain and simple, again, by that team.

“We’re better than what we’ve shown. To go out and play that team two games and get spanked like that … we haven’t been good in front of our goalies against these guys.”

Backes scores four as Blues blank Coyotes


David Backes had his second career four goal game and Brian Elliott made 23 saves for his 18th shutout with the Blues as St. Louis blanked Arizona 6-0 on Tuesday night.

Paul Stastny had the other goal for the Blues. He added an assist on Backes’ first of the night for a two-point night.

T.J. Oshie had assists on three of Backes’ four goals while Alex Steen and Patrik Berglund each had two assists.

Mike Smith made 33 saves in the loss.

For his solid performance Tuesday, Backes was awarded the team’s work boots.

Video: Coyotes’ Vermette takes a puck to the face

Coyotes forward Antoine Vermette took a pass from Blues’ forward Alex Steen near the mouth area and had to leave briefly for repairs.

He did return later in the period.

Arizona is already without Martin Hanzal with what the team is calling an upper body injury.

St. Louis will get Stastny back tonight versus Devils

Not only are the St. Louis Blues riding a six-game winning streak, they’ll get one of their top players, Paul Stastny, back tonight at home versus New Jersey.

Stastny (shoulder) has missed the Blues’ last eight games. Against the Devils, he’ll reportedly skate on a line between wingers Alex Steen and Joakim Lindstrom.

“I hope we stay to the same structure and he’s going to add to the mix,” said coach Ken Hitchcock, per Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch.

The Blues (8-3-1) got off to a shaky start to the season, but have not lost since a “wake-up call” performance versus Vancouver on Oct. 23.

Stastny to make Blues debut tonight, but it won’t be alongside Steen


There was great anticipation about Paul Statsny debuting for the Blues tonight on a line with Alex Steen and Joakim Lindstrom.

Now, that enthusiasm is tempered just a bit.

Steen — who’s dealt with a myriad of injuries over the last three years — is being held out of Thursday’s game versus Columbus after getting “banged up” in Wednesday’s  scrimmage. The decision will prevent Steen from linking up with Lindstrom, his former running mate on the Swedish junior national team, but the line will still have a decidedly Tre Kronor flavor as Magnus Paajarvi will replace Steen on the wing.

“When a guy gets pulled out, you’re always concerned, but right now, it’s day to day,” Hitchcock said of Steen, per’s Lou Korac. “If it goes any deeper, I’ll let you know, but I don’t think we’re too worried about it. I think we’re at the point right now with our veteran guys where anybody that’s got even an ailment, we’re just going to pull them out.”

As for Stastny, he’s just looking forward to getting back out on the ice — regardless of linemates.

Armed with a four-year, $28 million deal, the former Colorado Avalanche center arrives in St. Louis under pressure to help the Blues end a recent string of playoff disappointments. St. Louis has been bounced in the opening round in consecutive years, and Stastny made a point of saying preparation for postseason starts now, in the preseason.

“Even before training camp, you have guys in tip-top shape, ready and willing to go for a long season,” he said, per the News-Democrat. “People have that long-term goal in mind. Everyone’s prepared to play 100-plus games or whatever it has to take.”

As for other Blues debuts tonight, keep an eye on Ivan Barbashev as he gets to play his first game in style, on a line with David Backes and T.J. Oshie. Barbashev, the 33rd overall pick at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, scored 68 points in 48 games for QMJHL Moncton last season.