Sharks Territory is unfamiliar territory in tonight's game 6. The Sharks sit on the edge of history. They can advance to their first-ever Stanley Cup Final with a win, and eliminate the St. Louis Blues.
The team, much like the fanbase, is not yet satisfied with the deepest run in franchise history. Head coach Peter DeBoer summed it up best when speaking with reporters yesterday. Per the Mercury News:
"They're not awarding the Stanley Cup here tomorrow night," he said.
"We're not anywhere near where we want to get to."
A different face will man the crease tonight for St. Louis, and try to block the Sharks' path to the Final. But, it's one who's already played in this series. After Jake Allen posted an .881 SV% in two starts, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock has once again turned to Brian Elliott to play between the pipes. Elliott was not much better in games 1-3, but was still third among all playoff goalies who've played at least 440 minutes with a .925 SV% entering Pittsburgh's game 6 win last night.
But, the only number that matters to the Sharks is one. One win stands between the Sharks and a trip to the Final. One win stands between the Sharks and the end of old, tired narratives. One win stands between the Sharks and getting its first real taste of hockey's ultimate prize.
One win, on home ice, is all the Sharks need to make history.
Tale Of The Tape
|49-24-9||Regular Season Record||46-30-6|
|2nd in Central||Regular Season Finish||3rd in Pacific|
|52.7%||Regular Season Even Strength, Score-Adj. Fenwick||
|100.8||Regular Season PDO||100.4|
||Regular Season PP%||22.5|
||Regular Season PK%||80.5|
Joe Pavelski scored goals at the end of the second and beginning of the third period just 1:43 apart, as the Sharks moved one win away from the Stanley Cup Final after downing the Blues 6-3 in game 5.
- Chris Tierney, like Hansel, is so hot right now. The second-year center has four goals in his last seven games, and is just two goals off of his season total. He's shooting at an unsustainable 41.7% clip, but posted sterling score-adjusted possession numbers at even strength in each of the last two games, posting a 68% and 62.5% Corsi-for in games 5 and 6, respectively, according to War on Ice.
- Unlike Hansel, Blues star Vladimir Tarasenko isn't so hot right now. He's gone scoreless so far this series, and has seen a heavy dose of Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun. In just over 27 minutes at even strength, he's been held to 45.83% and 48% Corsi-for by Vlasic and Braun, according to War on Ice.
- It ended up being okay because of the Blues' issues in their own crease, but Jones struggled for the second straight game on Monday. For the second straight game, Jones stopped less than 90% of the shots he faced, Luckily for the Sharks, he's posted such subpar numbers for three consecutive games just once this season, and not once after Janaury 2nd. The Sharks don't need Jones to play like a Vezina contender, but they do need him to be league average if they hope to advance tonight.