ST. LOUIS (AP) - The San Jose Sharks latest win was just another step in their quest to get back into the NHL playoffs.
Steve Bernier scored two goals and Vesa Toskala made 33 saves for his first shutout of the season in the Sharks' 6-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night.
San Jose has 15 games remaining and every one will be important. The Sharks have 78 points, just off the pace for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
"We're very aware, we've got a chart up," coach Ron Wilson said after the Sharks began a five-game road trip. "I try to make everyone on the team aware of where we stand and what we have to do to make the playoffs."
San Jose took a 1-0 lead when Jonathan Cheechoo scored just 4:53 into the game. It was Cheechoo's 43rd of the season and moved him within one of the club record set by Owen Nolan in the 1999-2000 season.
Bernier knocked in a loose rebound off of Patrick Marleau's shot just 1:09 into the second period to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead.
Bernier scored his second of the game at 6:17. Right after coming out of the penalty box, Bernier took a long pass from Alyn McCauley and skated in on goalie Reinhard Divis, who dropped to 0-4.
Toskala was happy with his performance but he, too, is focused on the postseason push.
"It's nice, but these are the kind of must-wins for us if we want to make it to the playoffs," Toskala said. "Those two points are more important than my shutout."
McCauley gave the Sharks a 4-0 lead when he scored a short-handed goal with just 8:26 remaining in the game.
Mark Smith scored his eighth goal with 6:27 to go, and Nils Ekman closed the scoring with 2:25 left.
Divis made 23 saves in the Blues' fourth straight loss. It was his first start since he dropped a 6-3 decision at Anaheim on Dec. 21.
"We had a couple of good chances we couldn't score on," Divis said. "And they took advantage of their chances."
Notes: The Blues recalled D Jeff Woywitka from Peoria of the AHL. Woywitka replaced Barret Jackman who broke his jaw Monday against Nashville and is out for the season. ... San Jose is 16-0 after taking a 2-0 lead. ... The Blues, who lost to the Predators on Monday, are 1-12-3 in the second of back-to-back games.
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