SAN JOSE -- Brent Burns isn't sure he's in 100 percent shape after missing 13 games with a facial injury. And the rare matinee start meant there was no morning skate to burn off Thanksgiving calories.
Still, Burns managed to notch his first career hat trick Friday to help the Sharks bury the St. Louis Blues 6-3.
"Today was a little weird," Burns said. "A lot of food and then no skate this morning. I had to sweat it out."
As it turned out, so did the Sharks.
San Jose jumped to a 4-0 lead just 11:27 into the game on two goals by Burns and one each from Joe Thornton and Tommy Wingels. But the Blues -- one of the powerhouse teams in the Western Conference -- got three unanswered goals from Ian Cole, David Backes and Jaden Schwartz to narrow the gap to one with 8:41 left to play.
The Sharks were soon on a power play, however, and one minute later Burns nailed his third goal to restore a little breathing room.
Burns isn't normally on San Jose's top power play unit. But because St. Louis had just scored a goal when the teams were each down a player, Sharks coach Todd McLellan decided to mix things up, and Burns took Logan Couture's spot.
On that third goal, Burns skated down the left sideboards and into the faceoff circle before snapping off a 26-foot shot to beat St. Louis goalie Jaroslav Halak, who was screened by Joe Pavelski.
"He changes his release point a lot," McLellan said in describing Burns' shooting skills. "It's not always the same drag and shoot release. It can be quick, it can be long, and it's hard to read the puck coming off his tape. Goaltenders will tell you that."
The goal was the only one given up by Halak, who faced 19 shots after taking over for Brian Elliott at the start of the second period. Tomas Hertl scored San Jose's final goal into an empty net with 45.5 seconds left.
The teams were facing each other for the first time since Oct, 15, when Dan Boyle was knocked unconscious by an illegal hit from St. Louis forward Maxim Lapierre. Pregame attention focused on any possible retribution, and that was fueled by the presence of tough guys Matt Pelech and Mike Brown in the Sharks lineup.
But none of that was a topic for discussion in the locker room, Couture said.
"There's no time in this conference right now to go out and worry about certain players and retribution and stuff like that," Couture said. "We're smart enough people in this room. We realize we need points."
Burns got things started 35 seconds into the game with a one-timer, and at 3:01, Thornton ended San Jose's power play futility at 0 for 14 when the rebound of a shot by Couture was steered by Pavelski to the Sharks captain, and he found the back of the net.
The lead grew to 3-0 on Burns' second of the game at 9:14, then 4-0 a little more than two minutes later when Wingels carried the puck through the neutral zone, skated down the right side and fired a shot from the faceoff circle that Elliott fumbled into his own net.
Elliott finished out the period, but after giving up four goals on 12 shots, he was done for the day.
The St. Louis comeback began with Cole beating Sharks netminder Antti Niemi on a shot from the high slot at 11:03 of the second period with each team a man down. Backes scored a power-play goal at 2:02 of the third period to make it 4-2, and Schwartz finished off a 2-on-1 to make it a one-goal game at 11:19.
"You knew they were going to have a little push back, and they did," Thornton said. "It's just nice to get the two points."
The Sharks will be going for a sweep of their season-long, five-game homestand Saturday when they face the Anaheim Ducks.
Anaheim (18-7-3) at Sharks (17-3-5), 7:30 p.m. CSNCA