NHL Western Conference Finals Game Five: San Jose Sharks at St. Louis Blues

2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs
Western Conference Finals – Game #5
#3 San Jose Sharks at #2 St. Louis Blues
Best of Seven Series Tied 2-2
Monday, May 23, 2016, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: NBC Sports
Scottrade Center – St. Louis, Missouri
Opening Line: St. Louis -130 / San Jose +110
Current Line: St. Louis -120 / San Jose +100
Opening Total: over 5 -110 / under 5 -110
Current Total: over 5 -110 / under 5 -110

The Sharks and Blues meet in game five of the Western Conference Finals with the series tied 2-2.
The Sharks and Blues meet in game five of the Western Conference Finals with the series tied 2-2.

The San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues have both won twice in the Western Conference Finals including once on the road. Now, the teams meet in game five as the series returns to St. Louis Monday night. St. Louis won game one 2-1 at home. The Sharks won the next two games via shutout 4-0 and 3-0. St. Louis evened the series Saturday night in San Jose with a 6-3 victory and regained home ice advantage.

In game four, the Blues benched goalie Brian Elliot in favor of Jake Allen. Allen will also start game five tonight. St. Louis finally got their offense on track in a big way. The Blues led 4-0 at the end of the second. Troy Brouwer scored on the power play six minutes into the first. Jori Lehtera added another goal four minutes later. Kyle Brodziak scored two goals in the second period, including a shorthanded goal. Joe Pavelski finally got the Sharks on the board a minute into the third. Brouwer added his second power play goal 3 minutes later. Chris Tierney made it 5-2 Sharks, but Alex Petrangelo made it 6-2 Blues. Melker Karlsson added a meaningless late goal for the Sharks to make the final 6-3. San Jose had 34 shots to 27 for St. Louis, including 16-5 in the third period. The Sharks won 30 faceoffs to 29 for the Blues. St. Louis was 2/4 on the power play and San Jose was 0/5. Allen made 31 of 34 saves. San Jose goalie Martin Jones was benched after making only 15 of 19 saves. James Reimer saw his first action of the post-season and made 7 of 8 saves. Jones is expected to start in game five.

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 56-36-3-3 this season and the total is 49-38-12.

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 59-32-5-4 this season and the total is 39-45-16.

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San Jose is outscoring teams 3.25-2.25 in the playoffs. The Sharks lead the league in playoff scoring. San Jose averages 28.1 shots per game and opponents average 27.5 per game. The Sharks are 15/57 (26.3%) on the power play and 38/47 (80.9%) on the penalty kill. The Sharks have allowed two shorthanded goals in the playoffs.

Goalie Martin Jones is 10-6 in the playoffs for the Sharks. He has a GAA of 2.07 and a save percentage of .921 (398/432). He has three shutouts in the post-season. James Reimer is the back-up.

Center Logan Couture leads all playoff scorers with 20 points including 13 assists. Defenseman Brent Burns has 18 points with 12 assists. Joe Pavelski has 18 points with 10 goals. Joe Thornton has 14 points with 11 assists. Patrick Marleau has ten points with six assists. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Joel Ward, Tomas Hertl, and Joonas Donskoi all have at least 7 points in the playoffs. Left wing Matt Nieto is questionable with an upper body injury.

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St. Louis is outscoring teams 2.89-2.50 in the playoffs. The Blues average 27.9 shots per game and opponents average 31.4. The Blues are 14/53 (26.4%) on the power play and 44/54 (81.5%) on the penalty kill. St. Louis has scored and allowed one shorthanded goal.

Goalie Brian Elliot is 9-8 in the playoffs. He has a 2.34 GAA and has made 481/520 saves (.929). He has one shutout. Jake Allen is 1-0 with a 1.64 GAA. He has made 40/43 saves (.930).

Center Robby Fabbri has 14 points with 11 assists. He is questionable with an undisclosed injury. Right wing Vladimir Tarasenko has 13 points with 7 goals.  Center David Backes has 13 points with seven goals. He left game four with an undisclosed injury but is probable for game five.  Jaden Schwartz has 13 points with 10 assists.Troy Brouwer has 12 points with 7 goals.  Kevin Shattenkirk has 11 points with 9 assists. Paul Statsny has 11 points with 8 assists. Four other players have at least eight points. Scottie Upshall is questionable with an upper body injury.

San Jose is 5-1 after allowing 5 goals or more, 4-1 after the opponent scores 5 goals or more, 20-7 against teams with winning records, 45-22-1 after a home loss of 3 or more goals, 1-4 in road games and against teams with winning home records, and 3-12 in Conference Finals games. The road team is 5-2 in this series recently. The Sharks have won 5 of the last 7 games in St. Louis.

St. Louis is 25-10 against Pacific teams, 37-15 after scoring 5 or more goals, 22-9 after the opponent allows 5 goals or more, 17-8 against Western Conference teams, and 2-5 after a win. The under is 4-1 overall in this series and 15-6-1 in St. Louis between the teams.

Jones had a bad game in the net for the Sharks, but I think he rebounds in game five. The Sharks need to be better on the power play. I think the Sharks win a tight game five on the road, possibly in overtime.

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