This road trip finally comes to a end with a stop in San Jose to face the Sharks. You know the world has turned upside down when the Blues are challenging for the conference lead and the Sharks are fighting to just make the playoffs. The Sharks are in 7th place right now, but only 4 points separate 7th from 11th place Calgary. Right now, they need every point that they can get to hold that position. Not helping that cause, though, are the injuries that they have to contend with. I mean, you'd expect them to know what they're getting when they traded for Martin Havlat, but the others... Douglas Murray may or may not play tonight due to a fractured Adam's apple. I've never heard of such a thing. You can break that? And it's not just the players - head coach Todd McLellan will miss another game tonight while recovering from a concussion.
The Enemy: The Sharks have hit a rough patch lately, having gone 3-6-1 in their last 10 games. Even through their injuries though, they still have enough talent to bite back. Their points leader is Jumbo Joe Thornton (14G / 45A) and the #2 guy is their goals leader Logan Couture (27G / 25A). Patrick Marleau also has 52 points, and Joe Pavelski is just under 50 points with 48. That's a lot of production for a 7th-place team. In the net, starting goaltender has Antti Niemi has a 2.43 GAA and .910 SV%. Backup Thomas Greiss has the same save percentage but a slightly better GAA at 2.36.
The Sharks made one of the bigger splashes at the trade deadline, sending Jamie McGinn, Michael Sgarbossa and Mike Connelly to the Avalanche in exchange for T.J. Galiardi, Daniel Winnik, and a 7th-round pick. Of particular interest is Galiardi; in just 9 games against the Blues in his career, he has 6 points.
Final Verse: The Blues are still on the west coast, so it's another late start. The puck drops at 9:30 St Louis time. The broadcast outlets are the usual: Fox Sports MW for TV, and KMOX 1120 AM for the radio call. Until then, this is your pregame warmup. Until then, gather here, speculate who scores first for the Blues, rev up the hate machine for Joe Thornton, and enjoy a little more British humor (humour?)..
Best Place to Punch a Shark - Qi - BBC One (via BBC)