Two Western Conference hopefuls link up tonight for a matchup in St. Louis between the Sharks and Blues. The Sharks and Blues are still recovering from the playoffs a year ago, with the Sharks losing in the Stanley Cup Finals, and the Blues losing to the Sharks in the Western Conference Finals. We had a playoff rematch last night between the Penguins and Capitals, which resulted in a rather convincing win for the Capitals. Luckily we cashed in on the Caps and were able to take advantage of the route. The Penguins looked disinterested to be in Washington. I said they were going to be sluggish, but not quite to that extent. The Sharks and Blues hope to look better than the Pens did last night.
Both of these franchises haven’t gotten off to the most ideal starts, but it would be a surprise to believe that they don’t get something hot cooking in the coming months. The Sharks enter Thursday night with a record of 9-7-0. They had a three-game winning streak snapped by the Carolina Hurricanes in their last contest. They’ve been on and off lately going 3-0, then giving it away with a 0-3 streak, only to go 3-0 in the next three games. If that pattern held true, the Sharks would go on to lose tonight to make it two losses in a row.
The Sharks haven’t seemed to look like the same team we saw in the playoffs last season, but I think this was to be expected a little bit. For a lot of the guys on the roster, it was their first time going the distance to the Stanley Cup Finals, so the idea of a hangover to open the season isn’t the most outlandish thing to happen. Nevertheless, I feel like the Sharks blew a glorious opportunity to hoist the prized Stanley Cup. Do I think they make it back to the finals? No I do not. So, this squad may never get that close again. We’ll see though, there have more surprises in the NHL than that. The Blues will be out for revenge over the Sharks tonight at home in St. Louis. Will it be more of the same with the Sharks coming out on top? Or will the Blues achieve a little payback? It all unfolds Thursday night. Let’s pick a winner.
The Blues will seek their second straight victory after dispatching the Buffalo Bills at home two nights ago. The win snapped a three-game skid for the Blues, so both of these teams, it’s been a little of this and a little of that. St. Louis will come into Thursday night with a mark of 8-6-3 on the season. Jake Allen assumes the starting duties fulltime for the first time in his career. It must have sure been nice to have Bran Elliott there too, but Allen is getting his chance to shine in St. Louis. No major complaints thus far, as Allen has posted a GAA of 2.49. It could be better, yeah, considering what Elliott did last season, but he is no danger of losing his job in net.
The Sharks are scoring just 2.25 goals per game, which goes without saying, isn’t too good for them. This positions the Sharks 24th in the league in goal scoring. There aren’t many injuries to report with them either, just centre Melker Karlsson who is questionable to play tonight. Logan Couture needs to get his scoring touch going, though. He has scored only 3 goals on the season. The Sharks have gone 5-5-0 on the road this season, and if you recall from a year ago, they were way better on the road than at home in the Shark Tank. Conversely, the Blues have been playing well in St. Louis with a record of 6-1-2. I like the Blues in this spot getting a relatively cheap price.
PICK: BLUES TO WIN -108