After finally enjoying a home win, the San Jose Sharks are back on the road to face the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.
Due to various complications from COVID-19, the Sharks played their first 12 away games. They returned to San Jose for two games, a 3-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday and a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Monday.
“It was good to respond,” Sharks coach Bob Boughner said. “We needed this win before we hit the road to another tough building in St. Louis.”
The Sharks face the Blues in a two-game set in St. Louis, with the second game on Saturday night.
The teams split two games there earlier this season, with the Blues winning 5-4 and the Sharks winning 2-1 in a shootout.
The Blues just finished seven straight games against the Arizona Coyotes. They were 3-3-1 in that series and added winger Robert Thomas and Jaden Schwartz to their disabled list. Additionally, defender Torey Krug came out of the final game early with an upper body injury.
“We have a lot of hockey left, and I don’t think you can tell the story of our team,” forward Brayden Schenn said. “We are beaten, we are injured, the guys are fighting hard, competing hard. At times we weren’t very good; (at) the same time, we had some good games and we worked hard, and I don’t think you’ve seen our best hockey so far this year. I know it will come with everyone rolling and a healthy lineup. “
The Blues could win back Schwartz and defender Marco Scandella as they try to get back on track. Krug skated on Wednesday so he was able to go too.
“There are a lot of things to fix,” Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly said. “It wasn’t perfect, we did a good job at times to find a way to win, but we have to … improve knowing that it’s going to be tough, and all the teams in this league are so good and we have to be consistent.”
The Sharks were missing defender Erik Karlsson and Radim Simek against the Ducks. Fredrick Claesson and Nicolas Meloche replaced them on the blue line.
“We had some guys that had to step up and they did it,” Boughner said. “Early in the game, you could tell we didn’t have a lot of chemistry there. But as the game progressed, the defense got tougher. I thought we had more confidence in our breakups as the game progressed.”
With Karlsson out, Brent Burns led the Sharks’ power play.
“I liked it. I think we had a good time on possession,” Boughner said. “We didn’t rush our shots. We were selective as to where we were shooting, we managed to tire them out a bit. We want to be more in attack mode. I thought we looked very different with Burnsie on top. Penalties have to respect that big shot there. up, and that opens the flanks a bit. “
The Sharks recovered goalkeeper Devan Dubnyk (0-3-1, 2.71 goals against average) from the disabled list. He supported Martin Jones (6-4-0, 3.75) on Monday night.
Jones earned a shootout victory over the Blues earlier this season. He is 6-5-0 with a 1.99 ERA in 11 regular-season games against St. Louis.
The Blues are likely to stick with Jordan Binnington (7-3-2, 2.37 GAA) in goal. He stopped 42 of 44 shots in his last two games.
–Field level media
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.