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Sharks vs. Blues Game 5 Preview: Taking back the lead

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The San Jose Sharks look to put their poor game 4 performance behind them, as they try to gain a 3-2 series lead over the St. Louis Blues.

Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

Just as they did last round, the Sharks head into Game 5 of the Western Conference finals tied 2-2. Unlike last round, however, the Sharks try to re-gain the series lead on the road, with the Blues hosting a pivotal Game 5.

Coming off arguably their worst performance of  the playoffs, the good news for the Sharks is that they have shown a strong ability to bounce back from losses. They've lost back-to-back games just once this postseason, and are 4-1 coming off of losses overall.

The Blues, meanwhile, are just 2-5 coming off of wins this postseason. Jake Allen will once again start for St. Louis, after stopping 31 of 34 shots in his postseason debut in Game 4. The status of David Backes and Robby Fabbri remains up in the air, although Hitchcock said they should be able to play following Game 4 on Sunday Saturday.

Tale Of The Tape
San Jose Sharks

@

St. Louis Blues Logo
46-30-6 Regular Season Record 49-24-9
3rd in Pacific Regular Season Finish 2nd in Central
53.3% Regular Season Even Strength, Score-Adj. Fenwick 52.7%
100.4` Regular Season PDO 100.8
22.5
Regular Season PP% 21.5
80.5
Regular Season PK% 85.1

5PM PDT | Scottrade Center | St. Louis
TV: NBCSN | Radio: 98.5 KFOX
Know Your Enemy: St. Louis Game Time

Last Meeting

Troy Brouwer scored twice, as the Blues routed the Sharks 6-3 to tie the series in San Jose's second home loss of the playoffs.

Storylines

  • A big reason the Sharks have bounced back so well from losses is because of Martin Jones. In games following losses this postseason, Jones has posted a 0.951 SV%, and recorded two shutouts in his last two appearances after a loss. Jones has responded well to losses all season, and will need to do so again tonight.
  • On-ice chippiness has carried over off the ice, with Peter DeBoer sarcastically praising Ken Hitchock's adjustments after Game 4. While I doubt we'll see the coaches go at it mid-game, it will be interesting to see if this raises some of the nastiness we've seen on the ice.
  • One adjustment DeBoer will have to make is to figure out what to do with the Sharks' third defense pairing. Both Brenden Dillon and Roman Polak are getting dominated at even strength. Given the Blues' aggressive forecheck and the pair's struggle to break the puck out, could Dylan DeMelo draw in? Unfortunately for the Sharks, he's also struggled against St. Louis this season, posting a positive Corsi differential in one of three games against the Blues this season. He also hasn't played this postseason, so it's likely on Polak and Dillon to raise their games.