It’s the st. Louis Blues against the San Jose Shakrs for the final time in the 2017-18 regular season tonight. Once again, playoff positioning is on the line against a hot team.
The St. Louis Blues and their fans will drive themselves mad if they continually look at the standings right now. It is much better to simply focus on each game that comes along and hope/plan for a good performance.
It is madness to focus solely on the standings because it is so impossible to predict. Many of us went to bed on Monday with the Blues still in a playoff spot. When Tuesday rolled around on the west coast, the Blues were below the line once again.
Los Angeles beat Calgary, pushing them into the second wild card. However, Colorado lost, keeping them just one point above St. Louis.
So, the good news is with a win tonight, St. Louis is back above the line. Even better, since the Blues have games in hand on the Kings, St. Louis will vault into the top wild card spot, leaping over L.A. and the Avs, if they can beat the Sharks.
That will be no small feat as the Sharks are one of the league’s hottest teams right now. The Blues did just end a 10 game win streak, but on the surface it feels like there is a big difference between Columbus and San Jose, even if it is only perceived.
Know Thy Foe
San Jose currently sits in second place in the Pacific Division with a record of 44-23-9 and 97 points. They will be motivated to keep winning just to hold off their southern California counterparts, who are both still within striking distance.
The Sharks have won eight games in a row. They are also 9-1-0 in their last 10, including a 4-3 win over Chicago last night. That game did go all the way to the shootout, however.
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San Jose is also trying to reverse last year’s run against the Blues. St. Louis swept all three games last season, but the Sharks have taken both matchups this year so far.
San Jose is 7-6-3 against Central Division opponents this season.
St. Louis, as mentioned, fell below the playoff line overnight. A win puts them into the top wild card spot though. It would also put them, potentially, within two points of Minnesota, who plays Nashville tonight.
The Blues have won seven of eight games, including five in a row. They are 7-2-1 in their last 10.
Theoretically, they should be the more rested team. San Jose had a shootout in Chicago last night, whereas the Blues have been off since Saturday.
St. Louis managed some come from behind victories during this current streak. Scoring first is still incredibly important though, since the Blues are 33-6-2 when netting the first goal.
According to the team website, the Blues have some decent streaks against San Jose:
"– Schwartz has 13 points in his last 11 games (four goals, nine assists)– Steen has 10 points in his last 10 games (three goals, seven assists)– Tarasenko has 10 points in his last 10 games (four goals, six assists)– Alex Pietrangelo has 18 points in 24 career games (two goals, 16 assists)– Jake Allen is 3-2-1 with a 2.15 goals-against average and a .930 save-percentage in six career starts against the Sharks."
Allen is likely to play tonight, even though Carter Hutton is back on the roster.
His record against the Sharks is not great, but he’s got a good save percentage and will likely need it.
Where To Watch
Fox Sports Midwest, NBC Sports California
Fox Sports Go, NHL.tv (subscriber fee)
KMOX, KMOX.com, Blues app
This is a tough one to figure out. San Jose is hot, but the Blues already beat a team that had two more wins than the Sharks currently do.
This is uncharted water for this year’s Blues team though. They have never won this many games in a row, so fans are left wondering when the other shoe will drop.
St. Louis already played very well in a 2-0 loss (really 1-0 since an empty net goal was scored) to San Jose earlier this month. That game was actually the start of the turnaround.
It’s going to be close. I just can’t see the Blues getting the win in a laugher, nor the Sharks getting multiple goal leads on the Blues.
I think St. Louis finds some magic and pulls it out. We’ll go with the same score the last time the Blues beat San Jose at home, 3-2.