NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, December 17th
(All times Eastern)
San Jose Sharks (20-7-6) at St. Louis Blues (22-6-4), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The San Jose Sharks hope to avoid a fifth straight
setback on the road on Tuesday night when they attempt to sweep their season
series with the St. Louis Blues.
The Sharks have lost five of their past six overall and are coming off a 3-2
setback to the Nashville Predators on Saturday. Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle
had a goal and an assist each in the third period, while Antti Niemi made 20
Marleau's 15th goal of the season came with 55 seconds to play in regulation
to make it a one-goal game.
"Anything that got near the net, we were on the outside," said Sharks coach
Todd McLellan. "You're not going to win like that."
Tuesday marks the third and final meeting of the regular season between the
Sharks and Blues. San Jose has outscored St. Louis 12-5 in winning the first
two after having dropped six of the previous seven meetings in the series.
Niemi got the start in the two earlier meetings, giving up five goals on 51
shots. He is 7-6-0 versus the Blues lifetime with a 2.57 goals against average
in 14 meetings.
Sharks forward Brent Burns netted his first career hat trick in a 6-3 victory
over the Blues at home on Nov. 29, but has not scored in eight games since.
St. Louis is returning home after dropping a 3-2 overtime decision in Ottawa
Chris Stewart scored twice in a 2:57 span in the second period to put the
Blues in front, but the Senators tied the game 5:44 into the third frame and
won it on Cody Ceci's first career goal 3:59 into overtime.
"I thought the way we played in the second was one of the best road periods we
played all year," Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We really took it to
them and really hemmed them in, and at times overwhelmed them with our
forecheck, so I was really happy. I was happy with the point."
Brian Elliott made 29 saves against his former team as the Blues saw their
three-game winning streak snapped.
St. Louis may be without captain David Backes tonight after he left Monday's
game with an upper-body injury. He left the ice late in the second period
following a collision with Ottawa's Colin Greening and did not return.
Backes is second on the Blues with 16 goals and 30 points.
St. Louis was also without Vladimir Sobotka and Jaden Schwartz on Monday due
Jaroslav Halak is likely to get the start tonight for the Blues and is 4-3-0
with a 2.56 GAA and two shutouts in nine previous encounters with the Sharks,
including eight starts.
Halak made the start in a 6-2 home loss on Oct. 15, pulled following two
periods after allowing four goals on 26 shots. He then relieved Elliott on
Nov. 29, yielding a goal on 19 shots faced.
12/17 10:47:19 ET