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Blues at Sharks preview: Sharks missing some teeth

The San Jose Sharks are playing better than expected this season.

NHL: MAR 20 Blues at Sharks Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Blues may have dropped last night’s game against the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 in a shootout, and there was some sloppiness (especially in OT), but there was still a lot to like. Torey Krug’s resurgence continued with a game tying shorthanded goal that forced OT, Vladimir Tarasenko had a couple of assists to keep his point streak going at seven games, David Perron and Jordan Kyrou scored, and the Blues added yet another power play goal to their tally.

The Blues’ power play is second in the league at 38.1%, and a good chunk is thanks to their dominance against the Kings with an extra man. Their 96.2% penalty kill effectiveness also shone last night.

Tonight, the Blues will hop over to San Jose to take on the Sharks for the first time this season. San Jose is off to a solid 6-3-0 start to the season, good for third in the Pacific Division. After finishing last year well out of a playoff position, Sharks fans have a lot to be happy with so far. Unfortunately for them, they’ve been hit even harder than the Blues have by Covid-19. After an initial seven players were placed on the NHL’s Covid-19 protocol list on October 30th, the team has seven current players and two members of the staff on the list. Those names include Erik Karlsson, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and head coach Bob Boughner. All in all, four defensemen and three forwards are out.

For the Blues, of course, Ryan O’Reilly, Kyle Clifford, and Ville Husso remain on the list. Tonight’s the second part of a back-to-back, so under different circumstances fans would be seeing Husso in goal. Alas, fans will not be seeing Husso in goal, so odds are good we see Jordan Binnington again. Binnington, who does not start in back to back games often, would be the way to go against a Sharks team on a two game win streak, but he saw 35 SOG last night and may be a bit tired. As well as the Blues have played, they’re allowing on average 34 shots a game, tied with the Detroit Red Wings for fourth most in the league. They and the Edmonton Oilers (first overall at 34.9) are bucking the trend of more shots, fewer points in the standings. The Sharks, in contrast, allow 29.2 shots per game.