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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:24 am 
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After toying with their two most recent opponents, the San Jose Sharks should expect more of a challenge as they wind down their longest homestand of the season.

That begins Thursday night against the St. Louis Blues as the Sharks go for their fifth win in six games.

San Jose (42-20-7) enters this game having beaten the Dallas Stars on Sunday and Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday by a combined score of 9-2. Neither of those opponents is expected to play in the postseason.

St. Louis (36-28-5) is fighting to stay in the playoff mix, as it has a four-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for the final Western Conference wild-card berth. The Blues are also two points behind the Nashville Predators for third in the Central Division.

The Sharks will wrap up their six-game run at SAP Center on Saturday night against the Anaheim Ducks, who are fourth in the West and seven points behind the Sharks in the Pacific.

"We've got to focus on our game, and I think if we play the way we want to, it doesn't matter the opponent," San Jose's Michael Haley said after scoring a goal in the 4-1 win over Buffalo.

A win would push the Sharks into a tie with the Chicago Blackhawks for the top spot in the West.

"We've got to keep our eye on the ball and that's winning as many games as possible, make sure we're playing the right way heading into the playoffs and tracking down the teams ahead of us," San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said.

But San Jose has dropped both meetings vs. St. Louis this season, including a 4-0 defeat on Jan. 14 -- its second straight shutout loss to the Blues at SAP Center. The Sharks haven't scored on home ice against St. Louis since Joe Pavelski's tally late in the first period on Jan. 3, 2015, a span of 161 minutes, 38 seconds.

The Sharks' captain is currently playing his most productive hockey this season. The league's reigning first star of the week scored twice against Buffalo, giving him seven goals and an assist in his last five games.

"In the short time I've known him, he cranks it up this time of year," DeBoer said of Pavelski, who has helped the Sharks post an 11-2-1 record all-time against the Blues when he scores at least one point.

The recent surge has pushed Pavelski past Brent Burns for the team lead in goals scored. Pavelski needs two more to reach 30 for the fourth straight season and sixth time in 11 seasons.

Besides Pavelski, Joe Thornton has been red-hot for the Sharks with a goal and six assists during a five-game points streak. He also has been scorching against the Blues over the last 10 regular-season matchups, with five goals and 11 assists. Eleven of those points have come in just three games.

Thornton will also try to stick around for the entire game this time. In the most recent matchup in January, Thornton was ejected in the second period for spearing Paul Stastny in the midsection.

St. Louis heads north after falling 2-1 to the Ducks on Wednesday. Rookie Ivan Barbashev scored his first goal since Feb. 15.

With a playoff berth still unsecured, the Blues have to hope this isn't the start of another downward trend. Since Mike Yeo took over as coach on Feb. 2 for the fired Ken Hitchcock, the Blues have sandwiched winning streaks of six games and five games around a five-game skid.

"We're in the fight of our lives, so our play has to show that desperation," Yeo said.

Vladimir Tarasenko leads the Blues with 32 goals -- four behind NHL leader Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins -- and 61 points. However, Tarasenko has not fared well against San Jose, scoring two goals with six assists in 12 career games.

Players the Sharks' defense will want to pay extra attention to are Alex Pietrangelo, who has 15 assists and 17 points in 21 meetings, and Alexander Steen, who has five goals and 11 assists in 19 games vs. San Jose.

Pietrangelo and Steen are tied for fifth on the club in scoring on the road, with 16 points, while Tarasenko has a team-high 33, including 13 goals.

Even with Wednesday's loss, the Blues' Jake Allen has surrendered just nine goals in his last six games, posting a 4-2-0 record with a shutout. Allen is 1-0-1 with a 2.87 goals-against average despite an .891 save percentage over two career starts in San Jose.

The first of backup Carter Hutton's four shutouts this season came in January in San Jose. In his last four starts, Hutton has stopped 109 of 113 shots while going 3-0-1 with two shutouts.
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Blues • The Blues are in San Jose for the third game of their five-game road trip. They opened it up with a 3-1 win in LA on Monday and played in Anaheim Wednesday. ... This will be the Blues’ third and final meeting of the season against San Jose. They are 2-0 against the Sharks, with a 3-2 victory on Nov. 17 at Scottrade Center and a 4-0 shutout on Jan. 14 at the SAP Center. ... The Blues will be playing the second night of a back-to-back set of games for the 11th time this season. The team is 8-2 on the second night and has won six straight.

Sharks • San Jose enters Thursday’s game in first place in the Pacific Division with 91 points, just two behind Chicago for the lead in the Western Conference. ... The Sharks have won two straight, over Dallas and Buffalo, outscoring those opponents by a combined 9-2. ... Joe Pavelski netted two goals in a 4-1 win over Buffalo Tuesday and now has seven goals in his last five games for a team-high 28 this season. ... The scoring drought for Brent Burns, who leads all NHL defenseman with 27 goals, is now at 10 games. He had seven shots on goal in the win over Buffalo and leads the league with 272.

Injuries • Blues — LW Dmitrij Jaskin (upper body), C Jori Lehtera (upper body) and LW Robby Fabbri (knee), out; Sharks — C Melker Karlsson (lower body), questionable.


This day in history:
1971 Glenn Hall recorded his NHL win as Blues best Canadiens for first time on home ice 6-3.
1983 Scotty Bowman becomes the first NHL coach to win 100 games with three teams (Blues, Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres)
1991 Blues retire Federko's #24
2004 Chris Osgood gets his 300th NHL win and Keith Tkachuk scores his 30th goal of the season to help the St. Louis Blues defeat the Los Angeles Kings 5-3 at Staples Center. Osgood becomes the third-youngest and fifth-fastest goalie to win 300 games; Tkachuk reaches 30 goals for the ninth time in his NHL career

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Last edited by theohall on Thu Mar 16, 2017 9:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:38 pm 
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Ducks and Sharks on back-to-back nights sucks ass. I wouldn't call this a must-win game, because we're not on the brink yet, but definitely a gut check to see if these boys can dig deep.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:17 pm 
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Lines:
Forwards

Schwartz-Stastny-Tarasenko
Perron-Berglund-Steen
Sanford-Barbashev-Paajarvi
Upshall-Brodziak-Reaves

Defense

Bouwmeester-Pietrangelo
Edmundson-Parayko
Gunnarsson-Bortuzzo

Goal

Hutton

Sanford finally gets to play in, what, his 2nd game. Considering Yakupov's play last night, not surprised at all.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:25 pm 
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Was Gleen Hall related to Glen Hall?

Blues win this one. Sanford scores two then goes back to the press box.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 9:15 pm 
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Great screened wrister by Upshall! Blues lead 1-0!!! Glad they got the goal soon after Tarasenko failed on his open breakaway!

But Sharks score to tie it up just after. Boo! :cussing:

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 9:21 pm 
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glen a richter wrote:
Was Gleen Hall related to Glen Hall?

Blues win this one. Sanford scores two then goes back to the press box.


I clearly can't type.

On to Sanford... that play he made passing off the boards to himself and setting up Paajarvi - who looked completely stunned the puck was there - that's the kind of scoring setup Hull used to receive on a regular basis from a number of different centers. And how Sanford set that up you will never see from someone like Yakupov whose only ability, from what I can see, is to use his speed.

In the limited time Sanford has played, he's shown some excellent passing and stick skills.

And maybe this concept of balancing out the ice time a little more by playing the Brodziak-Reaves-Upshall line has some merit.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 9:46 pm 
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Sanford goes to the net and elevates his shot for the go-ahead goal, after a super pass from Bouwmeester!!! 2-1 Blues!!!

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 9:58 pm 
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Amazing that The Blues are skating so well on the back end. They are actually tiring out the "rested" Sharks. Keep it up, men!

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:14 pm 
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Good 2nd Period on the road on the back end, against a "rested team". Let's win this one going away, coming out blazing in The 3rd!

Barbashev, Pääjärvi and Sanford have looked very good. Bouwmeester is having a good game.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:39 pm 
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The Blues are buzzin' all over the ice, and hitting, too. Really impressive for a backend game on the road in a very tough building. They are dominating play. Got to get the next goal!

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:47 pm 
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Key power play for The Blues! Get that insurance goal! And they DOOOOO!!! Tarasenko knocks in the rebound!!! Blues 3-1!!!!

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:52 pm 
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Tarasenko was robbed!!!

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 11:05 pm 
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Tarasenko seals it with the empty-netter!!!

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 5:42 am 
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I think this Sanford will be better than our last Sanford.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:01 am 
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glen a richter wrote:
I think this Sanford will be better than our last Sanford.


I try not to think of those dark days...

Let's keep this kid in the lineup. 1st goal as a Blue is game winner. Reminds me of Peter Sejna!

Oh crap, I did it again.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:55 am 
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And also- our goal differential is back in positive numbers. :okman:

First time since when? November?

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:01 am 
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It actually reached +2 on Dec 9th when things went more off the rails than they had in November, but prior to that it had been 0 or negative the entire month of November.

And it's amazing what happens when you give someone with skill an opportunity, instead of playing 1st round busts who flash maybe once every 20 games, but never really show any true skill.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:16 am 
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theohall wrote:
I'd like to see what the Blues record is against good teams the rest of the season, not the 5 average to sub-par teams they beat in 5 of those 6 wins. I'm betting it will still be around .500 which is nothing different from what was happening with Hitchcock. Unfortunately, we likely won't. The Blues only have 6 of 22 games remaining against teams with records better than them as of right now. This could change to 8 depending on what happens during the bye week with FLA and NSH.

In other words, the Blues should win 14 of their last 22 at a minimum


Wrote that after the Panthers loss on Feb 22.

Well, the Blues are 3-3 against playoff teams (losses to Chicago, Edmonton, and Anaheim; wins vs Minnesota, Anaheim, Chicago) and 3-1 against current non-playoff teams (loss to Winnipeg; wins - Avs, Kings, Islanders). Granted, the Kings and Islanders were playing to make the playoffs, so those games carry more weight.

6-4 in the first 10 of the last 22.

The remaining 12 only has 2 playoff teams and given the history this season - let's say they go 1-1 in those two putting them at 7-5 And 10 games against non-contending, non-playoff teams. They could win all of them, but that's not realistic prognosticating, so say they win 8 of the 10. 15 wins over the last 22, instead of 14.

They are in the playoffs. It's just a matter of who finishes where. The fact they are .500 against playoff teams means they are competitive with playoff teams and if they can manage to matchup with the Sharks, they have a real chance at beating them. They have owned the Sharks this season.

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