2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs
Western Conference Finals – Game #3
#2 St. Louis Blues at #3 San Jose Sharks
Best of Seven Series Tied 1-1
Thursday, May 19, 2016, 9:05 pm Eastern, TV: NBC Sports
SAP Center – San Jose, California
Opening Line: San Jose -140 / St. Louis +120
Current Line: San Jose -140 / St. Louis +120
Opening Total: over 5 -110 / under 5 -110
Current Total: under 5 -120 / over 5 +100
The San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues split the first two games of the Western Conference Finals in St. Louis. Now, the series switches to San Jose for the next two games, starting with game three Thursday night. St. Louis won game one 2-1 but San Jose evened the series with a 4-0 shutout in game two Tuesday night.
In game two, San Jose took a 1-0 lead two minutes into the first period on a goal from Tommy Wingels. Brent Burns added two power play goals in the second and third periods. Dainius Zubrus added another goal for the Sharks with less than 20 seconds left in the game. St. Louis had 26 shots to 24 for San Jose. The Blues won 28 faceoffs to 23 for the Sharks. San Jose was 2/5 on the power play and St. Louis was 0/6.
St. Louis is coached by Ken Hitchcock. The Blues finished second in the Central Division with 107 points, two points behind the Dallas Stars. St. Louis beat the Chicago Blackhawks in seven games in the first round, with six of the seven games decided by one goal. In the second round, St. Louis beat Dallas in seven games. In the last three St. Louis wins in that series, the Blues outscored the Stars 16-3. St. Louis is 58-31-5-4 this season and the total is 38-44-16.
San Jose is coached by Peter DeBoer. The Sharks finished third in the Pacific Division with 98 points. San Jose beat the Los Angeles Kings in five games in the first round, but the first four games were decided by one goal. The Sharks then beat the Nashville Predators in seven games in the second round. San Jose is 55-35-3-3 this season and the total is 48-37-12.
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St. Louis is outscoring teams 2.88-2.44 in the playoffs. The Blues are #3 in scoring in the playoffs. St. Louis averages 28.4 shots per game and opponents average 32.3. The Blues are 12/48 (25%) on the power play and 37/47 (78.7%) on the penalty kill. St. Louis has allowed one shorthanded goal.
Goalie Brian Elliot is 9-7 in the playoffs. He has a 2.26 GAA and has made 470/506 saves (.929). He has one shutout. Back-up Jake Allen has played for 41 minutes in the playoffs. He hasn’t allowed a goal in seven shots faced.
Right wing Vladimir Tarasenko has 13 points with 7 goals. He missed the morning skate due to the birth of his child but is expected to play in game two. Center Robby Fabbri has 13 points with 10 assists. Center David Backes has 13 points with seven goals. Jaden Schwartz has 12 points with 9 assists. Kevin Shattenkirk has 11 points with 9 assists. Troy Brouwer has 10 points with 5 goals. Five other players have at least seven points.
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San Jose is outscoring teams 3.29-2.14 in the playoffs. The Sharks lead the league in playoff scoring. San Jose averages 28.6 shots per game and opponents average 27.9 per game. The Sharks are 15/50 (30%) on the power play and 35/42 (83.3%) on the penalty kill. The Sharks have allowed one shorthanded goal in the playoffs.
Goalie Martin Jones is 9-5 in the playoffs for the Sharks. He has a GAA of 2.01 and a save percentage of .923 (361/391). He has two shutouts in the post-season. James Reimer is the back-up but hasn’t seen any action in the postseason.
Center Logan Couture leads all playoff scorers with 19 points including 12 assists. Defenseman Brent Burns has 18 points with 12 assists. Joe Pavelski has 15 points with 9 goals. Joe Thornton has 11 points with 8 assists. He is probable with a hand injury. Patrick Marleau has ten points with six assists. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Joel Ward and Joonas Donskoi all have at least 7 points in the playoffs. Left wing Matt Nieto is doubtful with a leg injury.
St. Louis is 9-2 after a home loss of 3 or more goals, 4-1 after scoring 2 goals or less, 20-7 overall, 24-9 against Pacific teams, 16-7 against Western Conference teams, 23-11 overall, 41-20 in Thursday games, and 2-5 in Conference Finals games. The road team is 4-1 in this series recently. The Blues have won 7 of the last 9 games in San Jose.
San Jose is 5-0 at home, 20-7 against teams with winning records, 2-6 in Thursday games, and 2-11 in Conference Final games. Four of the last five games overall have gone under the total in this series, but the over is 3-1-1 in San Jose between the teams.
St. Louis is a physical team but they take a lot of penalties. If San Jose can score on the power play like they did in game two, then they have an excellent chance of winning at home in the Shark Tank. I think they do and take control of the series.
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