Series tied 2-2
Although the St. Louis Blues recorded their third six-goal outburst of the postseason, coach Ken Hitchcock was more interested in the play at the other end of the ice. With that in mind, goaltender Jake Allen will receive his second consecutive start in Game 5 on Monday as the Blues look to gain the advantage in the Western Conference final when they host the San Jose Sharks.
“He gave us exactly what we needed. He’s a competitive son of a gun,” Hitchcock told reporters of the 25-year-old Allen, who manned the crease in place of a struggling Brian Elliott and made 31 saves in St. Louis’ 6-3 triumph on Saturday. While the Blues evened the series at two victories apiece, San Jose’s Martin Jones will need to collect himself after seeing his impressive shutout streak halted just shy of 154 minutes. “We’ve responded well anytime we’ve needed to this year, all season long,” the 26-year-old Jones said after yielding four goals on 19 shots to earn an early exit in Game 4. “We’ll get ready for the next one. I don’t really have to change anything. Prepare like I have been for the next game.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, CBC, TVAS
Sharks – Martin Jones (W/L: 10-6, GAA: 2.07, SAVE %: .921)
Blues – Jake Allen (W/L: 1-0, GAA: 1.64, SAVE %: .930)
ABOUT THE SHARKS (56-33-9, 49-38 O/U): Captain Joe Pavelski extended his point streak to five games (two goals, four assists) with his franchise-best and NHL-leading 10th goal through Saturday. Fellow forward Joe Thornton set up the tally for his third assist in two contests and 11th of the playoffs, putting him two behind Logan Couture for the team lead. The 27-year-old Couture was held off the scoresheet in Game 4, but dominated the faceoff circle by winning nine of 12 draws.
ABOUT THE BLUES (59-30-11, 39-45 O/U): The availability for captain David Backes and rookie forward Robby Fabbri will be decided prior to Game 5, as Hitchcock did not shed any additional light for reporters on Sunday. Both forwards suffered undisclosed injuries and missed a significant portion of ice time in Saturday’s victory, with Hitchcock telling reporters that “(Backes) had pompoms out. He was cheerleading. He was doing a good job.” Fabbri notched an assist on the first of Troy Brouwer’s two power-play goals on Saturday for his team-leading 14th point, while the latter’s seven tallies in the 2016 playoffs match his sum total of his initial 78 career postseason games.
* Sharks are 3-12 in their last 15 Conference Finals games.
* Blues are 1-5 in their last 6 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600.
* Over is 4-0 in Sharks last 4 following a loss of 3 or more goals.
* Under is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Early Covers Consensus data is showing that the public is heavily favoring the Blues at home in Game 5 at a rate of 70 percent. The Over is scoring a good chunk of the totals wagers at 63 percent. View full consensus data here.
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