2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs
Western Conference Finals – Game #6
#2 St. Louis Blues at #3 San Jose Sharks
Sharks Lead Best of Seven Series 3-2
Wednesday, May 25, 2016, 9:05 pm Eastern, TV: NBC Sports
SAP Center – San Jose, California
Opening Line: San Jose -160 / St. Louis +140
Current Line: San Jose -145 / St. Louis +125
Opening Total: over 5 -110 / under 5 -110
Current Total: over 5 -120 / under 5 +100
The San Jose Sharks are one win away from advancing to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history. San Jose leads the Western Conference Finals 3-2 against the St. Louis Blues. Game six is Wednesday night in San Jose. A St. Louis win would force a game seven Friday night in Missouri.
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 in San Jose with a 6-3 victory and regained home ice advantage. The Sharks won game five in St. Louis 6-3 Monday night.
In game four, St. Louis benched goalie Brian Elliot in favor of Jake Allen. However, Elliot will start game six. San Jose struck first four minutes into the game on a goal from Marc-Edouard Vlasic. St. Louis scored two first period goals after that from Jaden Schwartz and Troy Brouwer. In the second period, San Jose scored power play goals from Joel Ward and Joe Pavelski. The Blues also had a power play goal from Robby Fabbri and the score was tied 3-3 going into the third. Pavelski scored 16 seconds into the third period. The Sharks added a pair of empty net goals from Chris Tierney and Ward yo make the final 6-3. The Sharks had 27 shots to 21 for the Blues. St. Louis won 31 faceoffs to 27 for San Jose. The Sharks were 2/3 on the power play and the Blues were 1/3. San Jose goalie Martin Jones made 18/21 saves. Allen made 21/25 saves.
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 59-33-5-4 this season and the total is 40-45-16.
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 57-36-3-3 this season and the total is 49-39-12.
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St. Louis is outscoring teams 2.89-2.68 in the playoffs. The Blues average 27.6 shots per game and opponents average 31.2. The Blues are 15/56 (26.8%) on the power play and 45/57 (78.9%) 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 1-1 with a 2.49 GAA. He has made 61/68 saves (.897).
Center Robby Fabbri has 15 points with 11 assists. Center David Backes has 14 points with seven goals. Jaden Schwartz has 14 points with 10 assists. Right wing Vladimir Tarasenko has 13 points with 7 goals. Troy Brouwer has 13 points with 8 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.
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San Jose is outscoring teams 3.41-2.29 in the playoffs. The Sharks lead the league in playoff scoring. San Jose averages 28.1 shots per game and opponents average 27.1 per game. The Sharks are 17/60 (28.3%) on the power play and 40/50 (80%) on the penalty kill. The Sharks have allowed two shorthanded goals in the playoffs.
Goalie Martin Jones is 11-6 in the playoffs for the Sharks. He has a GAA of 2.13 and a save percentage of .918 (398/432). He has three shutouts in the post-season. James Reimer is the back-up.
Center Logan Couture leads all playoff scorers with 21 points including 14 assists. Defenseman Brent Burns has 19 points with 13 assists. Joe Thornton has 17 points with 14 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.
St. Louis is 4-0 after allowing 5 goals or more, 4-1 in Wednesday games, 9-3 after a home loss of 3 goals or more, 19-7 in road games, 42-18 after the opponent scores 5 goals or more, 25-11 against Pacific teams, 35-17 against teams with losing home records, and 2-5 in conference final games. The road team is 6-2 in this series recently. The Blues are 8-3 in San Jose recently.
San Jose is 6-1 in home games, 21-7 against teams with winning records, 5-2 after scoring 5 goals or more, 81-37 after the opponent allows 5 goals or more, 4-12 in conference final games, and 1-4 after a win.
In the games the Sharks have won, San Jose has been successful on the power play. I think that trend continues as the Sharks move on to the Stanley Cup Final in another high scoring game.
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