Preview: Blues at Sharks
The St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks have been living at opposite ends of the spectrum since they last faced off in a spirited Western Conference final. The ascending Blues and spiraling Sharks will meet in San Jose on Saturday for the first time since St. Louis won that series in six games en route to capturing its first Stanley Cup title in franchise history.
Brayden Schenn, who scored in the Blues' 5-1 victory in Game 6 of the Western Conference final, converted a breakaway in the second period in Wednesday's 2-1 victory over Edmonton. Schenn's co-team-leading 15th goal of the season put him one point shy of 400 for his career. While St. Louis has won four in a row and eight of its last 11, San Jose fell for the seventh time in eight games (1-6-1) and twice in three outings since Bob Boughner replaced Peter DeBoer as coach with a 3-2 setback against Arizona on Tuesday. "We all know the situation we're in," Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson said. "We're going to have to string a few (wins) together and get that feeling back in here. But we felt like this was a game we should have won."
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, FS Midwest (St. Louis), NBCS California (San Jose)
ABOUT THE BLUES (22-8-6): David Perron, who is tied with Schenn in goals, bolstered his team lead in points after collecting six (four goals, two assists) in his past six games. The 31-year-old Perron left his imprint on the Western Conference final with seven points (three goals, four assists), his most in any round of the playoffs last spring. Ryan O'Reilly, who won the Selke and Conn Smythe Trophy last season, has set up five goals in his last four games to boost his club-best assist total to 26.
ABOUT THE SHARKS (16-8-2): Tomas Hertl doesn't sound like a man who is impressed with his own performance despite scoring four goals over his last three contests while collecting at least a point in four straight (four goals, one assist). "I'd rather have zero goals and a win than two goals because it's tough right now," the 26-year-old Hertl said after his two-goal performance against the Coyotes. "We're far away from the (Stanley Cup) playoffs, and we need every win right now." A punchless power play has played a significant role in that, as San Jose has converted just once with the man advantage in its last 15 games.
1. San Jose captain Logan Couture, who leads the team with 32 points, will play in his 700th career game on Saturday.
2. With a victory on Saturday, St. Louis coach Craig Berube can record his franchise-best 61st win in his first 100 regular-season games behind the bench.
3. Sharks G Martin Jones sports a 9-6-0 record at home, as opposed to a 3-7-1 mark on the road.
PREDICTION: Blues 4, Sharks 2