St. Louis Blues (21-9-2) at San Jose Sharks (18-11-4)
|Date & Time||Saturday December 20, 2014, 10:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: San Jose Sharks -124 / St. Louis Blues +112 --- Over/Under: 5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
One of the things that has become synonymous with the St. Louis Blues under head coach Ken Hitchcock is their commitment to defense. This is a hockey club that has been one of the league leaders in goals against for several years now, so Thursday night’s contest in Los Angeles against the Kings can’t be sitting well with anyone. This year the Blues are currently seventh in the league in goals against per game at 2.38, but they couldn’t stop the Kings in this one. The most embarrassing part for St. Louis is that the came flying out of the gates, scoring three times in the opening period to take a 3-0 lead. David Backes opened the scoring with a power play goal, and in less than three minutes the Blues got goals from Dmitrij Jaskin and Kevin Shattenkirk to stun the Staples Center crowd. Los Angeles would answer back quickly, getting on the board just 1:45 after the Blues had taken their three goal lead. From that point on it was all Los Angeles and there was nothing that the Blues could do to stop it. The Kings scored twice in the second period but Jori Lehtera’s eight goal of the season kept the game within reach. Los Angeles would add three more in the third on their way to a 6-4 victory. It was a brutal night for Martin Brodeur who is now 2-2-0 since joining the club. Brodeur had his up and down moments over his last few years in New Jersey so a game like this shouldn’t come as any surprise. The good thing is that a veteran like Brodeur can bounce back quickly and head into his next match without this weighing on him. So far he’s posted just an .882 save percentage and 3.59 goals against average. The loss to the Kings was the first in six games for St. Louis who are currently 21-9-2 on the season and in second place in the Central Division standings. The Blues will head to Colorado after their match with San Jose before returning home to face the Dallas Stars.
Another team in the Western Conference that has gotten their game together of late is the San Jose Sharks. Heading into Saturday night’s contest with St. Louis the Sharks have won four straight games and eight of nine. The streak has put the Sharks into second place into a log jammed Pacific Division. The lone loss during all of this was to the lowly Edmonton Oilers, so Thursday night’s chance at revenge was welcomed for the home club. Things weren’t easy for San Jose and it took a third period rally to put them over the top in this one. Matt Tennyson’s first goal of the season came on the power play to tie the game at 3-3 and Barclay Goodrow’s second of the year 34 seconds later proved to be the game winner. San Jose trailed 1-0 after 20 minutes of play before goals from James Sheppard and Logan Couture gave them a 2-1 lead. Edmonton would answer back with two goals in 1:36 to regain the lead. It wasn’t the prettiest win for the Sharks but in the end they found a way to come away with another important victory. These are the types of games that the Sharks can’t afford to lose if they want to be a playoff team this season. There’s too many good teams in their own division and in the Western Conference to get away with losing multiple games to a team like the Oilers.
This game looks like a toss up but getting the Blues with some value looking to bounce back after a poor performance like that should be a good bet. Both these clubs are playing extremely well overall right now.