The St. Louis Blues will attempt to get back on track when they host the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night to open a five-game homestand.
The Western Conference-leading Blues, who are winless in their last three games (0-2-1), hope to ward off a prolonged slump.
“The concern’s always there,” Blues coach Craig Berube said after his team dropped a 5-4 overtime decision to the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday. “The league’s so tight. We gotta keep winning. We gotta find a way to get points. We got a point today. It’s a big point.”
The Blues beat the Sharks 5-2 in San Jose on Dec. 21 in the midst of an eight-game winning streak. Jake Allen was in goal for the Blues and he stopped 34 of 36 shots.
Overall Allen is 7-3-3 this season with a 2.36 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage. He is 5-3-2 with a 2.23 GAA and .926 save percentage in 10 career appearances (nine starts) against the Sharks.
But Berube could go back to All-Star goaltender Jordan Binnington, who has allowed four or more goals in three of his last eight starts.
The Blues should get key defenseman Colton Parayko back after he missed the last game with an undisclosed injury. Rookie Jake Walman made his NHL debut in his place.
The Sharks will try to rebound after blowing a two-goal lead over the Washington Capitals in the final minute Sunday of their 5-4 overtime loss.
“You’ve got to take positives from a night like this, even though it’s tough right now to sit here and only get one point,” Sharks captain Logan Couture said. “But we got one in a tough building and against a team that’s pretty good. So, get ready for St. Louis.”
The Sharks have gone 3-1-2 since the holiday break.
Sharks coach Bob Boughner liked how his team defended the explosive Capitals until the final minute, when Washington erased a 4-2 deficit by scoring two goals with its net empty for an extra attacker.
“Third period we didn’t really allow a lot 5-on-5,” Boughner said. “Defensively, we were pretty tight. You can take a million great things out of this game for us, but that’s why (the Capitals are) leading the league, that’s why they have the most points, because they’re finding ways to win games.”
Sharks goaltender Martin Jones is 5-5-0 with a 2.11 GAA and .916 save percentage in 10 career starts against the Blues. But Aaron Dell could start after earning road victories over the Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets last week while allowing just two goals in each game.
The Sharks have been flawless with the penalty killing in their last four games, negating all eight power plays they faced. They have also improved their power play, which closed the 2019 calendar year in a 2-for-49 slump.
“That was probably the biggest positive of the night, was getting off the schneid on the power play and scoring a couple,” said Sharks winger Evander Kane, who scored a hat trick against the Capitals. “Carry that over to St. Louis, play through the 60 minutes instead of just through the 58-minute mark, and we like our chances to win the game.”
–Field Level Media