St. Louis Blues (21-16-4-1 SU, 13-29 PL, 19-15-8 O/U) vs. San Jose Sharks (25-15-2-0 SU, 15-27 PL, 9-20-13 O/U)
NHL: Saturday, January 14, 2017, SAP Center, San Jose, California, 10:30 pm ET
Lines: San Jose -166, St. Louis +156; Over/Under: 5
It’s a battle of Western Conference foes chasing playoff berths out in the Golden State. The St. Louis Blues are on the road to face the San Jose Sharks Saturday night. St. Louis lost their second straight as they opened their road trip with a 5-1 loss to the Kings Thursday night. San Jose lost for the fourth time in six games with a 3-2 road defeat to Calgary Wednesday night. The Blues won the first meeting this season, taking a 3-2 home win on November 17, 2016. That was the first matchup since last season’s Western Conference Finals, which San Jose took in six games.
St. Louis Blues Try to Improve Playoff Chances
St. Louis lost the opener of their three game road trip against California teams. In the process, the Blues didn’t gain any ground in the Central Division. St. Louis is third in the division, 12 points behind Chicago and 10 behind Minnesota. The team is just two points ahead of Nashville to hang on to that guaranteed playoff slot. The Blues are 11th in the league in scoring as they post 2.8 goals per game this season. St. Louis currently is 28th in the league in goals against as they allow three goals a night. The Blues are 9th in the league on the power play as they cash on 22.1 percent of their chances. St. Louis is 6th in the league in penalty killing as they kill off 84.7 percent of their shorthanded situations.
The Blues never seemed to get their legs under them in the opening game of the road trip. St. Louis was flat from the start and that put them in a hole they couldn’t dig out of, dealing them a loss. The Blues were outshot 12-6 in the opening period and went to the dressing room trailing 2-0. Jori Lehtera took a four minute double minor for high sticking 2:32 into the game. Just 46 seconds later, the Blues were in a 1-0 hole. In the second period, St. Louis was outshot 11-2 and outscored 2-1 to go to the dressing room in a 4-1 hole. After falling behind 4-0, Paul Stastny got the Blues on the board with his 10th of the year at 7:29 of the period. Alexander Steen and Jaden Schwartz assisted on the goal. The third period was no better for St. Louis: despite outshooting Los Angeles 14-5, they gave up the period’s only goal. Jake Allen stopped 12 of 15 shots in the game while Carter Hutton kicked out 11 of 13. Allen is expected to be in net for this contest.
San Jose Sharks Chasing Pacific Division Lead
San Jose stumbled again with a loss to the Flames on the road. The Sharks are in second place in the Pacific Division, two points behind the division leading Ducks and one point ahead of the third place Oilers. Fourth place Calgary is just four points behind the Sharks with the Kings six back of San Jose. San Jose is 18th in the league with a miserable 2.6 goal per game average. The Sharks are above average defensively, ranking 4th in the league with 2.3 goals per game allowed. San Jose is 21st in the league on the power play as they convert 16.7 percent of their chances with the man advantage. The Sharks are 11th in penalty killing as they successfully navigate 82.7 percent of their shorthanded situations.
The Sharks failed to pick up the win on the road in Calgary as they couldn’t pick up an important two points. San Jose outshot the Flames 12-8 in the opening period and took a 2-1 lead to the dressing room. Logan Couture opened the scoring with a power play goal at 9:55 of the period. His 14th of the year was assisted by Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski. After the Flames knotted the score less than two minutes later, San Jose took the lead again before the period was over. Burns lit the lamp with his 17th of the year at 16:06 with Mikkel Boedker and Melker Karlsson assisting on the goal. It proved to be the last goal the Sharks scored on the night. In the second period, San Jose was outshot 9-7 and allowed the tying goal on the power play in the final minute of the stanza. In the third period, the Sharks were outshot 11-8 and gave up the winning goal with 2:19 to play in the game. Aaron Dell made 25 saves but took the loss in the game. Martin Jones is expected to get the start in net here.
- Blues are 1-4 in their last 5 road games
- Blues are 1-5 in their last 6 games playing on 1 day of rest
- Blues are 1-8 in their last 9 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600
- Sharks are 7-2 in their last 9 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400
- Sharks are 10-4 in their last 14 when their opponent scores 2 goals or less in their previous game
Both teams have had some issues lately with putting games in the win column. St. Louis has struggled stopping keeping the puck out of its own net as both Hutton and Allen scuffled against the Kings. The Blues have had issues with holding opponents in check all season long. San Jose has great offensive talent but hasn’t lit the lamp as much as one would expect. The defending Western Conference champions have to kick it in gear and that run starts now. San Jose gets the victory on their home ice.