Sharks lead series 3-2
The San Jose Sharks are one win away from the first trip to the Stanley Cup final in franchise history and can punch their ticket with a victory over the visiting St. Louis Blues in Wednesday’s Game 6. The Sharks pushed the Blues to the brink of elimination with a 6-3 win in St. Louis on Monday to seize a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series.
San Jose relied on a familiar formula to edge closer to advancing beyond the Western Conference final for the first time in four attempts — a staunch power play and its No. 1 line anchored by captain Joe Pavelski. “You don’t get this chance every day on home ice,” Sharks forward Chris Tierney said of the possibility of wrapping up the series at the SAP Center. “Sometimes you might not get this chance in your career, or maybe once. I think guys know that and they really want to take advantage of it.” The Blues fell to 4-6 at home with Monday’s loss, but they won Games 5 and 7 in Dallas in the second round and had their best performance of their series with a 6-3 victory in Game 4 at San Jose. “The realization is we win or we go home,” St. Louis captain David Backes said. “That’s how much onus we need to put on playing our best game of the series.”
TV: 9 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, TVAS
Blues – Brian Elliott (W/L: 9-8, GAA: 2.34, SAVE %: .928)
Sharks – Martin Jones (W/L: 11-6, GAA: 2.13, SAVE %: .918)
ABOUT THE BLUES (59-31-11, 40-45 O/U): Coach Ken Hitchcock made a bold move prior to Game 4 and replaced goaltender Brian Elliott with Jake Allen – and he’s hoping for a similar result in Wednesday’s win-or-go-home Game 6 by turning back to Elliott, who was pulled in Game 3 after starting the first 17 games of the postseason. “We got the jolt we needed from Jake,” Hitchcock said in explaining why he’s going back to Elliott. “These are Brian’s playoffs. We’d like to see him finish the job.” What St. Louis really needs is some production from leading scorer Vladimir Tarasenko, who has failed to register a point in the series and has one goal — an empty-netter — in the last eight contests.
ABOUT THE SHARKS (57-33-9, 50-38 O/U): Pavelski is showing why he wears the “C” for San Jose, not only scoring a playoff-leading 12 goals but making them count — he tied Game 5 by scoring late in the second period before putting the Sharks ahead to stay 16 seconds into the third with a highlight-reel deflection. “You think back to some of the best scorers ever,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. “His ability to get his stick on pucks in the offensive zone, in front of the net, different angles, is as good as anybody I’ve ever seen. But it’s a great lesson. He works at it every day.” Joe Thornton set up three goals Monday to tie teammate Logan Couture with a playoff-best 14 assists.
* Blues are 4-0 in their last 4 after allowing 5 goals or more in their previous game.
* Sharks are 6-1 in their last 7 home games.
* Over is 16-3-7 in Blues last 26 games playing on 1 days rest.
* Over is 4-0-1 in Sharks last 5 Wednesday games.
* Blues are 8-3 in the last 11 meetings in San Jose.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The home team San Jose Sharks are getting 61 percent of the public wagers for Wednesday’s Game 6. The Covers Consensus picks on the total are favoring the Over at a rate of 65 percent. View full consensus data here.
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