Pucknology Game Day Report
Tonight the Sharks will take to the ice at SAP Center as they continue to travel uncharted waters on their path for their first birth into the Stanley Cup Finals in franchise history. The Sharks are 2-1 in games where they can eliminate their opponents so far this postseason after the Nashville Predators forced game seven. The Blues, on the other hand, have been a perfect 2-0 when facing elimination although they have allowed series leads to evaporate into game seven do or die games. Home ice has not really been a factor in this series with the home team only picking up a pair of wins thus far.
For the Blues, the goaltending duties will once again shift back to Brian Elliott who I personally didn’t fault for the Blues woes in the first three games where you could argue that the Sharks were the better team despite the game one outcome. At first, the move to Jake Allen paid off as the Blues would win their next game in pretty convincing fashion. However after the Sharks defeated the Blues in game five they had put themselves in the figurative rock in a hard place. Ken Hitchcock now finds himself in a no win situation unless the Blues are able to outlast the Sharks and win the series. Had he not put Allen in and the series ended earlier he would have been questioned for not making the move and now that they face elimination anyway, questions will be asked about why did he turn on Brian Elliott when he was never really the problem. It’s a no-win situation that makes the future of the Blues interesting because Hitchcock is currently on a one-year deal that ends after this year.
Keys to a Sharks Victory
- The biggest thing for the Sharks is they have to live in the moment, they can’t get caught looking ahead and take care of the game at hand. They need to treat the game the same way the Blues are going to treat it as to not tempt fate with a team who has outlasted their last two opponents in game seven especially considering the Blues have home ice.
- The Sharks have basically been as good as their power play when the power play is working the Sharks tend to win and all their losses this postseason has had a poor power play.
- This should be a game with a ton of emotion and the Sharks need to play on the right side of that emotion and not allow the Blues to goad them into a penalty parade.
- Ken Hitchcock says that Vladimir Tarasenko is healthy, so the Sharks need to continue frustrating him and not let him finally make an impact in this series but some extra attention to Brower might be a good idea.
Matchup by the Numbers
|San Jose Sharks||St. Louis Blues||Advantage|
|11-6||Playoff Record||10-9||Sharks lead 3-2|
|(17/60) 28.3%||Power Play||(15/56) 26.8%||Sharks|
|(40/50) 80.0%||Penalty Kill||(45/57) 78.9%||Sharks|
Sharks Projected Lineup
Hertl – Thornton – Pavelski
Donskoi – Couture – Marleau
Karlsson – Tierney – Ward
Zubrus – Spaling- Wingels
Vlasic – Braun
Martin – Burns
Dillon – Polak