The St. Louis Blues look to rebound quickly after a deflating end to a five-game win streak. A matchup with the red-hot San Jose Sharks could make that extremely challenging.
Winners of four in a row, the Sharks seek an eighth straight home win and a fourth consecutive victory over the Blues on Saturday night.
St. Louis (21-9-2) couldn’t stop Los Angeles after scoring the first three goals in Thursday’s opener to a three-game trip. The Kings pulled away for good with three goals in the third period in a 6-4 victory.
"It shows us that it’s a full 60-minute game. If you let your foot off the gas or don’t play the right way for a little bit of time, all of a sudden a good team will make you pay," captain David Backes said.
The Blues have the daunting task of facing a San Jose team that’s won eight of nine and is outscoring opponents 13-6 during its win streak. The Sharks (18-11-4) needed a pair of goals in the third period – from unlikely sources – to put away Edmonton in a 4-3 victory Thursday.
Defenseman Matt Tennyson’s first NHL goal was the tying one and Barclay Goodrow followed with his second in 17 career games.
"We got better as we went, but obviously it took us too long to get going for a home game and for how we want to play," center Joe Pavelski said.
The Sharks have outscored their last seven visitors 28-15 and are seeking their longest single-season home win streak since a nine-game run to start 2008-09.
San Jose is facing the Blues for the first time since winning all three meetings last season. A 6-3 win Nov. 29, 2013, ended a five-game home losing streak to the Blues that included the 2012 playoffs. Sharks defenseman Brent Burns registered his only career hat trick in that victory, and has five goals and two assists in his last four matchups.
Joe Thornton, who had a string of three consecutive multipoint games snapped Thursday, has five goals and 10 assists in his last nine games against the Blues – including the playoffs.
This matchup features two of the league’s best power plays with St. Louis converting at 25.4 percent and San Jose at 24.2. The Blues are 7 for 13 (53.8 percent) with a man advantage in the last six games but have given opponents a combined 18 power plays in the past three contests, resulting in five goals.
San Jose has killed off 14 of 15 penalties in its last seven games.
St. Louis’ Vladimir Tarasenko has been one of the league’s hottest players with eight goals and six assists in his past 10 contests, including a hat trick in a 5-2 win against Los Angeles on Tuesday. He has one goal in four career matchups with San Jose.
Pavelski has seven goals and three assists in his last 12 games, and had two goals and two assists in last season’s series. Logan Couture, who has six goals and six assists in his past 13 games, has two goals and four assists in his last five versus the Blues.