For the first time in 16 days, the Blues are playing a team not named the Arizona Coyotes.
The West has been freed from COVID-19 protocols and are, for now, back in business. Tonight, the Blues begin a two-game series against the San Jose Sharks, who are 6-7-2 right now. That’s good for second to last in the West, but a bit of that is because they’ve been fallow for two games longer than the Blues. Luckily, the Blues are hosting the California teams in quick succession for the next three series, so that’s six games of possible points banking to make up for the Blues 3-3-1 record against Arizona. The Blues have a good record against the three Pacific Division teams so far this season, going 4-1-1 in six games.
Of note for tonight’s line-up is that Colton Parayko is out again:
Berube says Parayko will NOT play tonight. “We need to get him better,” he said. #stlblues— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) February 18, 2021
Chances are good that Marco Scandella and Torey Krug will be in the line-up tonight. so that’s a silver lining. The offensive lines will probably look close to what the Blues iced against Arizona in the final two games, seeing as how most of the walking wounded aren’t close to returning.
Overall, on special teams, the Sharks have the advantage on the power play, 17% to 12%. If you think neither number looks good, you would be correct. League wide, that puts the Sharks at 21st and the Blues at 26th. It explains how the Sharks are struggling this season, and also goes a long way to explaining why the Blues have had to rely on five-on-five play so much to win games. If the Blues don’t pick up on that power play, which was talked up so much before the season started, they’ll continue to let winnable games slip away.
The Blues and Sharks both are weak on the PK, too, with the Sharks at 21st again (77.4% effective) and the Blues at 26th (73.8%). Again, the Blues need to fix this if they want to keep pace with the Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche as those two teams get back into play.
Devan Dubnyk hasn’t played a game since February 6th, so Martin Jones will more than likely get the start as Dubnyk recuperates from a lower body injury. Jones has a 6-4-0 record on the year, but a 3.75 GAA and a .873 save percentage. He’ll be squaring off against Jordan Binnington at the other end of the rink. Binnington has a 7-3-2 record with a 2.37 GAA and a .918 save percentage.