Tonight is the last meeting between the Blues and Sharks this season. The Blues have taken three of four possible points from San Jose, and have outscored them with a lopsided 9-5 differential thanks to the team's 7-2 drubbing of San Jose Saturday night.
Tuesday night's lineup worked so well that the Blues are rolling with the same lines.
#stlblues lines: Steen-Backes-Oshie, Schwartz-Lehtera-Tarasenko, Jaskin-Stastny-Berglund, Ott-Lapierre-Reaves.— Lou Korac (@lkorac10) January 8, 2015
#stlblues D pairs: Bouwmeester-Pietrangelo, Gunnarsson-Shattenkirk, Jackman-Butler/Cole.— Lou Korac (@lkorac10) January 8, 2015
The Blues won't be dealing with Jumbo Joe Thornton tonight, as he's still out with what appears to be a shoulder injury. The Sharks didn't play well against the Blues without Thornton, but they have stepped up their play as their current road trip winds down. They beat Winnipeg 3-2 on Monday night and defeated Minnesota 4-3 the following evening. Tonight is the Sharks' fourth game in six evenings. They may be tired. The Blues are excited to begin a very long seven game homestand, and they may be able to catch the Sharks while San Jose's energy level isn't high.
The on-again/oh my God, they're awful again penalty kill has been humming over the Blues' last two games, succeeding in preventing a goal eleven out of the last twelve opportunities. It's not a coincidence that the penalty kill has gotten better the more that Brian Elliott plays. At the start of the season, Elliott and Jake Allen were similar in stats. With Elliott's absence, Allen's GAA has shot to 2.76; Elliott's is at 1.80. Allen's save percentage is a .899; Elliott's is .933.
Basically, get used to a good penalty kill, because Elliott is your starter tonight and for the foreseeable future.