Blues lead series 1-0
The San Jose Sharks forged their identity by posting the NHL’s top road record this season, but losses in four straight away from home is cause for concern for coach Peter DeBoer’s club. Facing a series deficit for the first time in the postseason, San Jose looks to end its road woes and even the Western Conference final with the St. Louis Blues at one victory apiece on Tuesday when the clubs play Game 2 at Scottrade Center.
With the pressure mounting, DeBoer took issue with the officiating in Sunday’s 2-1 series-opening setback, telling reporters the following day that “What we’re relying on are the officials to do their job. St. Louis is one of the most penalized teams in the league, regular season and playoffs. They need to call the game accordingly.” Blues bench boss Ken Hitchcock was quick to respond to his coaching counterpart, telling reporters that “We were told not to whine for calls, so we’re not going to whine for calls. If Pete wants to do it, that’s his (business).” St. Louis won the special teams battle in Game 1 as captain David Backes scored a power-play goal and the Blues thwarted all three opportunities of the Sharks, who entered the contest 13-for-42 (30.9 percent) with the man advantage in the previous two rounds.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, CBC, TVAS
Sharks – Martin Jones (W/L: 8-5, GAA: 2.16, SAVE %: .918)
Blues – Brian Elliott (W/L: 9-6, GAA: 2.20, SAVE %: .930)
ABOUT THE SHARKS (54-32-9, 48-36 O/U): Norris Trophy-finalist Brent Burns recorded his playoff-leading 12th assist on Tomas Hertl’s first-period goal, but his costly turnover led to Jori Lehtera’s go-ahead tally in the second. “That’s the way the games are going to go, little bounces here and there,” Burns told reporters. “That’s the way it is going to be the rest of the series.” Hertl’s goal, which was his first since the second-round opener versus Nashville, was result of a fortunate carom off his skate and past Brian Elliott.
ABOUT THE BLUES (58-28-11, 38-43 O/U): Elliott turned aside all 16 shots he faced in the second period and 31 total on Sunday to improve to 4-0 with a 1.29 goals-against average and .954 save percentage in five career playoff meetings with San Jose. “When your goalie is your best player, it gives you a great chance of winning, and that was the case,” Backes said of Elliott. “It was that way for the first two rounds and nothing’s changed in Game 1 of the third round.” Backes’ seventh goal on Sunday matched him with Vladimir Tarasenko for the team lead in that category and the two are also tied with rookie Robby Fabbri with a club-best 13 points.
* Sharks are 3-13 in their last 16 Conference Finals games.
* Blues are 13-3 in their last 16 after scoring 2 goals or less in their previous game.
* Over is 4-0-3 in Sharks last 7 games playing on 1 days rest.
* Over is 4-0-3 in Blues last 7 when their opponent scores 2 goals or less in their previous game.
* Over is 8-3-1 in the last 12 meetings.
COVERS CONSENSUS: As of Monday evening, 53 percent of the Covers Consensus public is picking the Blues to extend their series lead to 2-0. Over 5 goals is picking up 60 percent of the public action. View full consensus data here.
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