It's amazing how fast a 5-game winning streak is forgotten in light of a single loss to the LA Kings. You'd think we were in a standings cavern like Emonton. Admittedly, it was a horrible ending, but we sure saw a lot of knee-jerk reactions afterwards. Those are terribly short-sighted, and completely overlook how well things have gone this year overall. There are some pretty heavy things being lobbed back and forth around Blues Twitter. Thankfully, there are some more level-headed folks in charge of the Blues front office.
The Blues had their 5-game winning streak snapped off in LA, but we roll into San Jose and see that the Sharks are on a roll now. The Sharks have won 4 straight, and have gone 8-2-0 in their last ten games. Overall this year, they have gone 18-11-4 and currently sit in second place in the Pacific Division, 9 points behind the Ducks.
Somehow, all of the drama of the off-season seems to have worked out for them. Or, perhaps more likely, they are winning despite of it. Strip the "C" from Joe Thornton? No matter, he just leads the team in scoring (8g, 20a), along with Logan Couture (13g, 15a) with 28 points each. Right behind them are 2 players tied with 27 points: Patrick Marleau (7g, 20a) and goals-leader Joe Pavelski (15g. 12a). Convert a Defenseman to Forward, then send him back to the blueline? No sweat- Brent Burns is next with 25 points (9g, 16a), good for third in the league for scoring by defensemen.
The starting goaltender for the Sharks is Antti Niemi . In 23 starts, he's posted a 13-7-3 record, with 2.45 GAA and .918 Save percentage. His backup is Alex Stalock (2.12 GAA, .926 Sv%). I'd expect Niemi tonight.
In summary, they are still a damn good hockey club. There are no free points available tonight.
Just posted online by Jeremy Rutherford:
In response, the Blues are making some lineup changes for tonight’s game against the Sharks.
In Friday’s practice, Hitchcock put Joakim Lindstrom on a line with David Backes and T.J. Oshie, moving Alexander Steen with Jori Lehtera and Vladimir Tarasenko. He also split up the defensive pair of Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester, who were on the ice for five of the Kings’ six goals. Chris Butler will play with Pietrangelo and Bouwmeester will be with Shattenkirk.
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Final Verse: Once again we'll be waiting all night for this to start. The puck drops at 9:30 PM St Louis time, and the GDT should be along shortly before that. I'll be at a family event, so please drop by and take my place tonight and rec all of the puppy gifs. The TV broadcast will be on Fox Sports MW, and the radio call is on KMOX 1120 AM.
For all of their other failings, the Sharks do make some nifty holiday videos: