The NHL Conference Finals are in full swing as the final four teams battle it out for a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals. The San Jose Sharks and the St. Louis Blues will meet in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals on Wednesday night. The series moves to St. Louis on May 15, which could help lead to a shift in the series. Game 3 is set to start at around 8:00 PM Eastern time on NBCSN.
San Jose finished out the regular season with a record of 46-27-9, which put them in second place of the Pacific Division. The Sharks met up in a tough seven-game series against the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round. San Jose then went on to knock off the Colorado Avalanche in seven games in the second round. The Sharks will look to take the series lead with a road victory in St. Louis.
The Blues went 45-28-9 in the regular season, which helped them earn the third spot in the Central Division. St. Louis beat the Winnipeg Jets in six games in the first round. Then the Blues met up with the Dallas Stars in the second round and were able to win in seven games. St. Louis will look to take advantage of their newly earned home ice advantage with a win on Wednesday night.
These two teams have played a strong throughout the season. The Blues have been a big talk this season after going from being in the last place of the NHL in January to the Western Conference Finals. These two teams met three times in the regular season, where San Jose was able to win two of the three games.
Game 1 of this series was hosted by San Jose on May 11. Tyler Bozak, Joel Edmundson, and Ryan O’Reilly each had a goal for the Blues, but it was not enough. Logan Couture and Timo Meier each had two goals and an assist. Joe Pavelski had a goal and an assist, while Gustav Nyquist had two assists. Martin Jones had 28 saves on 31 shots as the Sharks took a 1-0 series lead with a 6-3 win.
The Sharks also hosted Game 2 of the series on May 13. Logan Couture had another two-goal performance, but this time it was not enough for San Jose. Robert Bortuzzo, Vince Dunn, Jaden Schwartz, and Oskar Sundqvist all scored once for the Blues. Jordan Binnington had 24 saves on 26 shots as St. Louis tied up the series with a 4-2 win on the road.
These two teams have played a really good first two games of this series. The first two games were relatively high scoring. Both goalies will look to put up a huge performance on Wednesday night to try and change that pattern. With this game shifting back to St. Louis, the Blues will look to use their home fans to help propel them to a win to take the series lead.
The Sharks put up a strong special teams’ performance in the regular season. San Jose was able to capitalize on around 23.65 percent of their power play chances, while stopping their opponents on around 80.8 percent of their power plays. The Sharks power play has yet to find its groove in the playoffs, scoring on only 18.3 percent of their opportunities.
St. Louis also was a strong special teams’ unit in the regular season. The Blues stopping opposing teams power plays around 81.5 percent of the time. St. Louis power play scored on 21.1 percent of their power play chances. The Blues power play has looked weak on this playoff run, scoring on only 14.9 percent of their opportunities.
The Blues have struggled to score on the man advantage in the playoffs, but have made up for it in really strong five on five play. St. Louis will need their power play to get going though if they want to win the Stanley Cup. The Sharks have not been the best on the power play as well and will look to change it up for Game 3 to try and get it going.
Martin Jones struggled during the regular season and early in the playoffs, but has since picked it up to make this run. In the regular season, Jones had a save percentage of .896 and a GAA of 2.94. This postseason, Jones has earned a .905 save percentage and a 2.83 GAA. The Sharks will look for Jones to bounce back in Game 3 after a round outing in the last matchup.
Jordan Binnington played a huge role in the Blues regular season turn around. Binnington put up a save percentage of .927 and a 1.89 GAA in the regular season. In the playoffs, Binnington has a .909 save percentage and a GAA of 2.54. Binnington has had some rough outings in the playoffs so far, but has picked it up when necessary.
Both goalies have had their share of struggles in the playoffs, but Binnington has been the better goalie overall. These two goalies have been around the same level of play, which should help lead to a good Game 3. Jones has been doing well at bouncing back after losses, so I believe he will put up a good night on Wednesday, which could help the Sharks win Game 3.
I believe that San Jose has a good chance to pull off the road upset in Game 3. The Sharks have the better special teams’ unit and if Jones can put up a really good outing, they should be able to come out on top. The Blues need Vladimir Tarasenko to step up as he only has seven points in this season’s playoffs. If Tarasenko can get it going, I believe that St. Louis will be able to win.
BetOnline has the Blues listed as a -141 against the money line in Game 3. This implies that St. Louis will win this game around 58.5 percent of the time. I believe that this game could go either way, which gives a lot of value to San Jose as underdogs. I believe that the Sharks will regain the series lead with a road upset on Wednesday night.