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Sharks at Blues Preview: Thomas stays, Maroon sits, more Johnson

NHL: San Jose Sharks at St. Louis Blues Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Thomas stays. Chad Johnson is back in net. Pat Maroon is in a suit.

There’s your primer. Now, do a shot and let’s continue on with this preview of game #14 on the season for the St. Louis Blues as they continue their seven-game homestand, which concludes on Sunday.

Tonight, the Blues take on the San Jose Sharks, aka the Beards. The team riding in from the Pacific has several players who could try out as an extra for HBO’s Game of Thrones. They also come into the game with an 8-5-3 record, which if you take away the bullshit, is 8-8. If you sit that next to the Blues’ 5-5-3 (5 wins, 8 losses), the Sharks’ record looks very pretty.

Thomas remains on a line with Robby Fabbri and David Perron, which means for the time being, he won’t be sent back to Juniors. At this point, due Thomas’ high ceiling, the Blues would be smart just to keep him up with the team. You can move him around on the lines all you want, but the kid’s ability should improve with each shift and you need the youth.

Johnson gets another start after a fine game against the Carolina Hurricanes, which is no surprise. Jake Allen gets another couple days to rest the concussed head, and the backup gets more mileage under his belt. I like it.

While I don’t like Maroon being benched, I am exhausted defending it. He’s struggled to produce at even strength and not getting a lot of shots on goal, but he is gold on the power play and soaks up space on the ice for the faster, more skilled players. The Blues lack a big body tonight, and could get pushed around even more. Let’s hope benching a veteran 13 games into the season is a good idea.

Jaden Schwartz’s face is still on a milk carton, and it’s not just the lack of goals and points. He isn’t doing the versatile list of things that make him valuable and make the contract he brings home stand up. He takes Maroon’s spot on the power play, so let’s hope he snaps out of it. The Blues need him to get rolling.

The Sharks lost to the Dallas Stars last, and are fairly even at home and on the road. This is a team that can score a bunch while also give up a fair amount. Brent Burns leads the team in points, but new addition Erik Karlsson only has seven points and is a -9 out there while dynamic scorer Joe Pavelski sits with just seven points, all goals. San Jose is beatable, but won’t keel over for any team. Over the past three weeks, they have traded wins with losses with no real streak.

The Blues need to get up early and keep their foot on the pedal. Getting out to a 2-0 lead, laying up, and getting squashed 4-3 sits about as well as White Castles at 3 a.m. The Blues need to show that they can play a strong 60 minutes in back to back games. Tonight would be the first, because a number of posts helped them win a sloppy match over Carolina on Tuesday.

Here’s the good thing. Ryan O’Reilly suits up again tonight, which means the Blues won’t be shut out and excitement will take place. He’s been a thrill to watch and a marvel for this team during a disappointing start.

The Blues play next on Sunday afternoon against the Minnesota Wild. Let’s hope they are trying to mount a true winning streak then.

Thanks for reading and please buy more bourbon.