Trailing the Blues 6-1 in the third period Sunday, the San Jose Sharks appeared to concentrate on hurting the Blues in general and agitator Tyson Nash in particular.
The Sharks took 10 penalties totaling 26 minutes, including 10 minutes on a pair of fights with Nash and four minutes for a double minor on another assault on the Blues' pest.
Not that Nash minded. He never stopped smiling after the incidents.
"You know me, I love it - I live for that stuff," Nash said, smiling. "It's a lot of fun, and nobody got hurt. I knew exactly what they were going to try to do at 6-1. They were going to go out and take liberties."
Winger Todd Harvey cuffed Nash to earn a roughing penalty on top of a high-sticking penalty at 10:18 of the third period. Then, former Blue Jeff Norton jumped Nash after a hard hit into the boards at 10:47.
"I was a little surprised by that," Nash said. "It was an innocent hit behind the net, but we had some bad blood, and before I knew it, he was on my back. There was not much I could about that."
Finally, grinder Ronnie Stern challenged Nash during a scrum that broke out after Bryan Marchment elbowed Jamal Mayers at 17:21, then Stern ridiculed Nash for "turtling," as they say in hockey parlance, to avoid punches.
"You know me, I'm not going to start trading punches with that guy," said Nash, who is 5-11, 195 pounds to Stern's 6-0, 200 pounds. "I've seen a lot of fight tapes of him. But I thought Marchment gave 'Jammer' a good elbow there, and I wanted to come to his aid and stick up for him like he would have done for me. Before I knew it, the gloves were off and he was chucking them.
"That's his role. He has a lot of built-up anger. He hasn't played a game all series. I know how that'd be. I'd come out and try to kill somebody, too, and that's probably what he was trying to do."
Although the Blues got a favorable bounce when Vincent Damphousse's shot stayed out of the net as it trickled along the goal line in second period, the Sharks scored yet another goal off a Blues player in Game 6, their seventh of the series.
Owen Nolan was credited with a power-play goal when goalie Roman Turek mishandled his centering pass, with the puck hitting his blocker and trickling into the net.
"They're still getting some breaks out there," Pronger said, speculating that in the first four games, Damphousse's close call would have gone into the net as well.
Turek finished the game with 25 saves, allowing the fluke goal to Damphousse and a late goal to Marchment - his second of the series.
On the flight home, defenseman Rico Persson awarded the team hard hat to Scott Young for scoring his first career playoff hat trick. He also commended Turek, Jochen Hecht and Pierre Turgeon. But Persson said he chose Young because "as a pure goal-scorer myself, I like goals, so I have to give it to Mr. Hat Trick."