Blues forward Jaden Schwartz (17) scores a goal on Sharks goaltender Martin Jones (31). (Photo courtesy: Nhat V. Meyer, Bay Area News Group)
12/21: Blues/Sharks, SAP Center, 9:30pm CT – FSMW, ESPN 101.1
SAN JOSE – The St. Louis Blues (22-8-6) face against the San Jose Sharks (16-18-2) for the first time since the Western Conference Final last season. The Blues swept their 4-game homestand in a thrilling 2-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.
MacKenzie MacEachern and Brayden Schenn scored for the Blues and Jake Allen made 35 saves in a rare home win for the backup goaltender. “He was a machine,” Robert Bortuzzo said of Allen afterwards. “He was playing the puck great, he was a rock back there tonight. It just gives us a ton of confidence.”
San Jose had two goals from Tomas Hertl, but lost to the division rival Arizona on Tuesday, 3-2, with Taylor Hall recording his first point with his new club in Glendale. With the loss, San Jose fell to two points below .500. “I’d rather have zero goals and a win than two goals because it’s tough right now,” Hertl said. “We’re far away from the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs, and we need every win right now.”
Both head coach Craig Berube and goaltender Jordan Binnington reached notable milestones in their career after the last two wins. Berube matched Ken Hitchcock’s record for most wins after 100 games (60). Berube can take that record with a win tonight in his 100th game behind the bench.
Jordan Binnington joined elite goaltending company, getting to 40 wins in 60 or fewer games. Binnington is just the 6th goaltender in history to accomplish the feat, joining Ken Dryden and Frederik Andersen among others for the milestone. Binnington has gone 40-11-5 since his first NHL start on January 7th, with a 2.14 GAA and .923 save percentage.
Troubled Water in the Shark Tank
After four years of qualifying for the playoffs, a Stanley Cup Final appearance and two Conference Final appearances, San Jose is off to one of their worst starts in recent history. After losing their captain Joe Pavelski in free agency, the Sharks are 16-18-2, and fired head coach Pete DeBoer 33 games into the season. They are 1-6-1 in their last 8 games, with neither goaltender holding a save percentage over .900.
The Blues are 15-2-3 against Western Conference opponents this season… Ivan Barbashev could get back on the ice tonight against San Jose, who was labeled day-to-day with an injury last week… Ryan O’Reilly has 5 assists in 4 games… With two assists in his last two games, Jaden Schwartz is one away from his 200th career assist, all with St. Louis
The Blues and Sharks face off tonight at 10:30pm ET at the SAP Center. To watch tonight’s game, tune in to:
STL – FSMW, ESPN 101.1, Fox Sports GO, NHL.com
SJS – NBCSC, KFOX 98.5, NHL.com
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