Series tied 1-1
After seizing home-ice advantage with a dominant victory in St. Louis on Tuesday, the San Jose Sharks look to continue the momentum when they host the Blues in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals on Thursday night. The Sharks rolled to a 5-0 win in Game 2, their fifth victory by a margin of at least three goals in the past 10 games.
The Blues were outplayed in both games at home and only a stellar performance by netminder Brian Elliott in Game 1 is keeping them from staring at a 2-0 series deficit. “(They have) got their ‘A’ game going right now, and it’s our job to catch up,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of San Jose after Tuesday’s beating. “We have played two ‘B’ games, and I think at times quite frankly, we’re fortunate it’s 1-1. We’ll take 1-1 right now with the way we’ve played.” The Sharks were 18-20-3 during the regular season at SAP Center — the worst mark of any playoff team — but have rectified those issues by winning five in a row at home, with their only loss coming in overtime in the first round. “SAP Center is different come playoff time,” San Jose forward Logan Couture said. “It’s full, it’s loud, it’s an intimidating building, and that definitely helps.”
TV: 9 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, TVAS
Blues – Brian Elliott (W/L: 9-7, GAA: 2.26, SAVE %: .930)
Sharks – Martin Jones (W/L: 9-5, GAA: 2.02, SAVE %: .919)
ABOUT THE BLUES (58-29-11, 38-44 O/U): St. Louis captain David Backes acknowledged that San Jose was the best team for five of the six periods in Games 1 and 2, one reason why coach Ken Hitchcock said he is planning to make some changes to his lineup to jump-start his team. “I think changing your lineup has a real impact. There can’t be any emotion in the coaches’ decisions at this time,” Hitchcock told reporters Wednesday. “You have to do what’s best for your team. … We’re probably going to have to make a few more tomorrow and hopefully they work.” Leading scorer Vladimir Tarasenko registered a game-high six shots on goal Tuesday but has been held off the scoresheet in the series.
ABOUT THE SHARKS (55-32-9, 48-37 O/U):
Brent Burns established franchise records for a defenseman during the regular season with 27 goals and 75 points and has not slowed down in the playoffs, netting a pair of pair of power-play goals in Game 2 to give him six for the postseason. “Best I’ve ever seen,” San Jose coach Pete DeBoer said of Burns’ shooting prowess from the point. “I think [it’s] just how he can get it off from every angle, how he can get it to the net off balance, in bad spots. He finds a way to get it there. If it’s in the right spot, it’s going in. That’s a great weapon for us.” Logan Couture had a pair of assists Tuesday to set a team record with 19 points.
* Blues are 9-2 in their last 11 games following a home loss of 3 or more goals.
* Sharks are 2-11 in their last 13 Conference Finals games.
* Under is 6-1-2 in Blues last 9 Thursday games.
* Over is 5-0-1 in Sharks last 6 Thursday games.
* Road team is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.
COVERS CONSENSUS: At the time of publication (Tuesday evening) the San Jose Sharks are picking up 66 percent of the moneyline wagers for Game 3. There is also plenty of action on the total, with Over 5 nabbing 61 percent of the picks. View full consensus data here.
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