Preview: Blues at Sharks
The San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues are comfortable with their Western Conference final shifting back to SAP Center, as the former is 7-3 in front of their own fans while the latter has made itself at home on the road with a 6-2 mark. The Sharks bid to win Game 5 of their third straight series on Sunday against the Blues, who split the first two games in San Jose.
"We're a confident group. We're a good road team and it's getting to our game early," St. Louis center Ryan O'Reilly told reporters after Friday's 2-1 win. "... We tied the series. It's a best-of-3 now and we have to start preparing for the next one." The Blues can thank Jordan Binnington for paving the way, as the 25-year-old made 29 saves to set a franchise record with his 10th postseason victory this year and became the 10th rookie goaltender to record double-digit wins in a single playoff run in league history. Tomas Hertl scored a power-play goal in the third period for his first point of the series and second on the road, as opposed to the 13 points (eight goals, five assists) he's posted at home. "We're right where I expected we would be, in a good spot going home, and we've got to get the job done," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer told reporters.
TV: 3 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, Sportsnet, TVA
ABOUT THE BLUES: St. Louis has answered an 0-for-18 stretch on the power play by scoring twice in five opportunities with the man advantage the past two games. Tyler Bozak scored on the power play in the first period on Friday to boost his point total to four (two goals, two assists) in the past five games. "We wanted to have a really good start, and we sure did with (Ivan Barbashev's) goal and added to it with (Bozak's)," Blues forward David Perron told reporters. "It was a really good first period. We back off after that, but we got the win and that's what matters."
ABOUT THE SHARKS: With the hand pass controversy now in the rearview mirror, the talk swirling around the health of two-time Norris Trophy recipient Erik Karlsson has once again returned to the forefront. Karlsson, who missed 29 games in the regular season due to a groin issue, was a passenger on the bench for a seven-minute stretch in the latter half of the third period and was seen testing his skating during a stoppage in play. "I don't have anything for you there," DeBoer said of the health of the 28-year-old Karlsson, who notched his fourth point of the series by setting up Hertl's goal.
1. St. Louis RW Vladimir Tarasenko has recorded at least a point in all four games of this series after being held off the scoresheet in seven of the previous nine contests.
2. San Jose D Brent Burns has 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in 10 home contests in the playoffs.
3. Blues D Vince Dunn will sit out his second straight game with an upper-body injury.
PREDICTION: Sharks 3, Blues 1