The St. Louis Blues have a lot at stake in tonight’s game. There is the potential playoff spot, of course, but there is more than that as well.
The St. Louis Blues need to stay focused on each, individual game they have left. There is no time for looking ahead right now.
Standings watching is fine for the fans, which we are doing a lot of at the moment. However, the team has to be laser focused on their opponent and nothing else.
That won’t be too hard when you play San Jose. The Sharks are still very talented from a speed and skill perspective, but they are also a holdover from years past in that they have a ton of punishing size.
The Blues will likely be overmatched in that department. They can counter that with some grit and determination, but that is something that has been sorely lacking of late. No time like the present to have it show up again.
Right now, St. Louis is hoping their little mini-break came at the right time. Fatigue can no longer be an excuse, but there was little time to process the trade deadline afterward.
The Blues were playing like a team that thought anyone could go at any moment. When locker room favorite, Paul Stastny was the one to go, it seemed to cut deeply for some players.
As said, they had no time to process the trade as they played a couple games immediately after.
Now, they have had time to deal with it. They have had time to come to grips with the current situation and decide how they are going to be remembered for the rest of this season. Hopefully, they want to show they are not pushovers and take back some pride.
Know Thy Enemy
The San Jose Sharks sit in third place in the Pacific Division. Though they don’t have a stellar record of late, they have won just enough to leap-frog the Los Angeles Kings for the final divisional spot out west – at least for now.
San Jose is 5-4-1 in their last 10 games. Their most recent outing was a 4-2 loss to Columbus. That was on March 4, so they will be just as rested as St. Louis coming into this contest.
The Sharks have the edge in the season series so far. They took down the Blues 3-2 back on February 20 in St. Louis. That was the fourth loss out of seven in a row for St. Louis in February.
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This will be the first time the Blues face Evander Kane in a Sharks uniform. San Jose acquired him on the trade deadline day.
Both teams are in need of points. As mentioned, the Sharks are ahead of the Kings, but only by two points.
According to the team website the Blues have several players with streaks going against San Jose.
"– Vladimir Tarasenko has a three-game point streak (three goals, one assist)– Jaden Schwartz has 13 points in his last 10 games (four goals, nine assists)– Alexander Steen has nine points in his last eight games (three goals, six assists)– Alex Pietrangelo has seven assists in his last 10 games– Carter Hutton is 4-1-1 with a 1.32 goals-against average, a .955 save-percentage and two shutouts in six career starts against the Sharks"
Additionally, Brayden Schenn has been lighting it up against western teams. He leads all Central Division players with 19 points against teams from the Pacific. The Blues could use a big game from him or any of the names listed above.
Though the Blues lost the game earlier this season, they have gotten the best of the Sharks following their Western Conference matchup. The Blues won all three games last season and made it very close in the game earlier this year, losing by only one goal.
St. Louis is now 2-6-2 in their last 10 games. Despite all that and their recent form, they still remain only two points out. A win tonight would temporarily put them in a three way tie for the final playoff spot with the Kings and Avalanche. Both teams play tonight as well.
Projected Lineup from the team website:
Alexander Steen – Ivan Barbashev – Vladimir Tarasenko
Jaden Schwartz – Brayden Schenn – Dmitrij Jaskin
Vladimir Sobotka – Kyle Brodziak – Patrik Berglund
Nikita Soshnikov – Oskar Sundqvist – Tage Thompson
Where To Watch
Fox Sports Midwest, NBCSports California
Fox Sports Go App, NHL.tv (subscriber fee)
KMOX, KMOX.com, Blues app
The puck drops on this one at 9:30 Central Time. So, kiss the sweet embrace of sleep goodbye for those that work in the morning.
I have not even come close on many of these lately. So don’t take anything I say to Vegas, unless you want to bet the opposite way.
That said, I think the Blues will have a little energy tonight. They’ve had some time off to process things and get their ducks in a row, so to speak.
They are shorthanded with recent injuries. They just have to step it up and regain that next-man up mentality from earlier this year and past years.
I don’t know why, but I think they will – at least for awhile. I think the Blues come out and take it to the Sharks. St. Louis still has enough top-end talent to get the job done.
I think the Blues squeak by in this one by a final of 4-2, with a rare empty net goal. If I’m wrong, though, we could be in for a very long road-trip.