The NHL season is rapidly coming to a close. For many teams, this point of the season is a time of desperation. Such is the case with the St. Louis blues. Coming off of an up and down season, the Blues find themselves battling the LA Kings for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Sharks are poised to overtake the Minnesota Wild and the Blackhawks for first overall in the West. Thursday’s game featured a battle of championship proportions. The Blues are desperately clinging to life and the Sharks trying to prove they are the apex predators.

Music doth soothe the savage beast

San Jose has been searing hot since coming off their NHL mandated bye week. They have won seven of their nine games since the break, including beating NHL number one Washington Capitals 4-2. The Blues had the remedy for the Sharks’ fire, though. The best way to describe the discord among the Sharks in Thursday’s game is imagining a charging rhino running through molasses.

St. Louis opened the scoring at 16:40 of the 1st period with an unassisted goal off a Brent Burns turnover. Scottie Upshall read Burn’s pass like a picture book and smoothly slid the puck around Shark Paul Martin. Martin provided a perfect screen causing Aaron Dell to miss the block. In reality, the Blues received two assists from the Sharks on the goal.

San Jose would answer back only 55 seconds later on Marc Edouard-Vlasic’s fifth goal of the season. Vlasic’s shot ricocheted off the skate of Blues defender Carl Gunnarson and past netminder Carter Hutton. The goal was the lone bright spot for the Sharks in a game they couldn’t wait to end.

Tarasenko rides the rhythm

The second and third periods allowed the Blues to show the Sharks what it means to have ownage on a rival team.

Zach Sanford may have scored the only goal in the second period, but St. Louis held the Sharks to only twenty shots on goal, ten fewer than their average. If there was blood in the water Thursday, it was all Shark blood.

Vladimir Tarasenko went into a feeding frenzy in the third period. Fueled by the sloppy Sharks’ weakness, he scored two third-period goals.

The first was a power play goal only eleven seconds into the penalty. Tarasenko pounced on a rebound off the crossbar that left him a wide open net. His second goal was an empty-netter off a Brent Burns turnover. The usually robust and sure Burns bobbled a loose puck directly in front of the empty goal that Tarasenko happily relocated to the back of the net. This fourth goal solidified the Sharks’ fate and ensured that the Blues had a playoff spot, for now.

The Sharks’ chance for redemption comes Saturday when they take on heated rival Anaheim. San Jose cannot afford to lose to the Ducks since a loss would mean a four-point swing in the standings. With twelve games left in the season, a Ducks’ win will pull them within only four points of first place in the division.

Who will rule the waters of the Shark Tank? Find out Saturday at 7:30 PST.