Tyson Nash was smiling on the ice, and he was laughing in the St. Louis Blues' locker room.
Twice slapped with five-minute major penalties for fighting -- once with Sharks defenseman Jeff Norton and once with right wing Ron Stern -- Nash chalked up the Sharks' third-period rough stuff Sunday to the inevitable hockey dynamics of a lopsided game and a long series.
"We felt that the game was basically won in the second period, and we knew that they would come out in the third with a lot of built-up anger," Nash said. "We had to play strong and smart and try to stay out of the penalty box."
The Blues were successful at that even though they took five third-period penalties. Ten of the Sharks' 13 penalties came in the final period, and for 10 seconds Todd Harvey, Norton, Owen Nolan and Vincent Damphousse were packed into the penalty box like sardines.
"They were trying to take a couple of liberties on some of our guys, andwe just went out there and wanted to play hard," Nash said. "If that's what they wanted to do, we just wanted to run up the score a little bit. Six games now, there's a lot of bad blood out there. It tends to build up and boil over, and I think tonight when it was 6-1 it did boil over. We did exactly what we wanted to do, and now we're going home for Game 7."
Nash and Norton got into a fight behind the Sharks' net 10:47 into the third period. With the outcome decided, the usual hockey unpleasantness set in.
"In the third period we got all our hacks and whacks in," Norton said. "It's predictable that Nash turtles (covers up) twice in a row. He turtles quicker than anybody. I respect him, but when he goes out there and plays the way he does, he's got to stand up sooner or later."
Actually, Nash said, he doesn't.