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NHL Anaheim Ducks

Game Day Preview: San Jose Sharks @ St Louis Blues — 12/10/11

Overview:  The Blues (16-9-3) will continue their 5 game home stand as they face the San Jose Sharks (15-9-1).  The Blues are looking to win their 3rd consecutive game for the 4th time this season as the Sharks hope to win 2 in a row for the first time since winning 4 in a row 3 weeks ago.  San Jose is coming off a 5-2 win over the then Pacific leading Dallas Stars in a very close division race.  Before that win the Sharks had lost 4 of 5 and decided to jumble the lines in the game against the Stars with Brad Winchester moving up to the first line with Joe Thornton.  (Yes, that Brad Winchester, I don’t get it either.)  Whatever they did it worked as Winchester scored (!!!) and Thornton added 2 assists.

The Blues are coming off a good game against a Pacific division opponent themselves.  The Blues beat the Ducks Thursday night 4-2 thanks in part to a late scratch by the Blues.  Kevin Shattenkirk called in sick so Ian Cole suited up and went crazy on the Ducks.  Cole was shut down defensively and scored his second career goal and added an assist on Chris Porter’s goal in the first period.  Unfortunately for Cole, Shattenkirk is over the flu symptoms and is back in the lineup tonight and barring any other bizarre scratches Cole will be up in the press box tonight.

Last Season:  As everyone knows tonight will be the first matchup between Perron and Thornton since Joe tried to squeeze his elbow through Perron’s skull exactly 100 games ago, only 3 of which have featured Perron.  Perron has moved on and isnt concerned with Thornton who did send Perron a good luck text before the Chicago game last week.  Joe is still a prick in my book; ya still think he was faking it? Dick.  The Blues only win vs the Sharks actually came in the game that Perron got knocked out and actually briefly returned and was the one to score the GWG.  After that they recorded losses of 4-1, 4-2, and 5-3.

This season Brian Elliott gave the Blues the victory in a 4-2 win in San Jose in the 4th game of the season as the Blues exploded for 3 goals on 8 3rd period shots and escaped with a victory even though they were outplayed a majority of the game and outshot 36-20.  Elliott will be back in goal tonight, Sharks will counter with Antti Niemi.

Injury Report:  McDonald, Huskins, Crombeen (who is skating finally, with a red no-contact jersey in practices) for the Blues

and for the Sharks; Nittimaki and Sheppard are out, Douglas Murray and Jim Vandermeer are questionable but it sounds like they both could play.

Who’s Hot:  TJ Oshie has been a man on a mission the past few games and scored twice in the game against Anaheim.  He has 3 points (2-1) his last 2 games to go with his 11 shots on goal.  Expect to see another big game from him tonight.

For San Jose, Logan Couture has been on a roll of late.  He has 5 points (4-1) his last 4 games and is on pace to beat his rookie season total of 56 points in 79 games.  He is 3rd on the team with 20 points in the teams first 25 games.

Prediction:  The Sharks offense isnt as powerful as in past years.  They are a middle of the pack offense this year but after a 5 goal outburst against the Stars the other night they could be gaining confidence.  That confidence will be shut down by Brian Elliott again tonight and the Blues will take advantage of the Sharks and the worst ranked PK in the league (I seem to say this every game, wishful thinking?).  Blues escape with another win on home ice as they leave it all on the ice with a 4 day break upcoming.  Good guys win a close one 3-2.

Other Notes:  More travel news if you are headed to the game.  EB I-64 will be shut down til 8 PM between Jefferson and 6th.  Take a different route if thats the way you go.  More info on the Blues website.  Oh and fuck you Owen Nolan.  LGB!