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Toskala blanks Blues to improve to 12-2-0

Nov 29, 2006 - 3:50 AM ST. LOUIS (Ticker) -- Vesa Toskala didn't want to be outdone by Evgeni Nabokov.

Toskala stopped 29 shots as the San Jose Sharks posted their second straight shutout with a 2-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues.

Ryane Clowe and rookie Joe Pavelski scored for the Sharks, who have won five of their last six games and got a four-game road trip off on a positive note.

"We got two points, that's the most important thing," Toskala said. "This is a good way to start this last road trip before we're home for almost two months."

After watching Nabokov stop 24 shots in posting his 30th career shutout in Saturday's 2-0 triumph against New Jersey, Toskala made 22 saves in the first two periods en route to improving to 12-2-0.

"We alternate goalies. My job is easy," San Jose coach Rick Wilson. "I don't know if there is any pressure on the other goalie if his partner has had a shutout, but it's nice that Vesa gets rewarded because he's played really well for us all year.

"Now he's got a couple. Nabby's got three, we have five as a team, which is most in the league, which is a real good sign for us."

The shutout was the second of the year and sixth in his five-year career. The 29-year-old Fin has won his last five starts against St. Louis, allowing just seven goals.

"They (Blues) were screening pretty well so sometimes it was hard to find a puck behind those big guys," Toskala said. "I was able to find it a couple of times. I just went down and hoped it was going to hit me. They were screening and I got some good shots from the angle and got into it and that helps."

San Jose got on the board just 2:15 in when Clowe jammed a rebound off a wrist shot by Mark Smith between goaltender Manny Legace's pads.

"Bad rebound. A save. The puck was really bouncing tonight," Legace said. "It was a bad rebound, then he went to shoot it, I went to kick my leg out and it hit our defenseman's skate. It just rattled around and it took like an hour and a half to get in the net. It was just bad luck."

The Sharks doubled the advantage 62 seconds into the second session on the power play. After the faceoff, Pavelski drifted between the circles and wristed a shot past Legace.

"It was a 50-50 puck and I was just trying to back up the play," Pavelski said. (Steve) Bernier made a tough play and it popped up when I went for it. The guy had a pretty good stick and I was able to separate just a little bit and pull it in and snap it off and it just found the net."

The goal was the second in just three games for the rookie.

"It feels pretty good, but I've come into a pretty good situation right now," Pavelski said. "Playing with Patty (Marleau) and Bernie (Bernie) right now, they create a lot of room and a lot of guys are looking out for them. So I am able to sneak in there and pick my spots where to go and feed off of them."

The Blues' power play was non-existent again, going 0-for-3, including a pair of missed opportunities in the final period. They have scored just once with the extra skater in their last nine games.

"That's the toughest thing creating offense," St. Louis goaltender Mike Kitchen said. "We're not overly confident right now. We've struggled to score goals all year. I thought we would be able to score goals. Right now we're really squeezing the sticks right now. It just seems like we can't hang on to the puck and we can't make a play. And we have to get better. We're just going to help ourselves, that's it."

Legace made 25 saves for St. Louis.

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