For the second game in a row hosting a team whose name includes the word blue (this is the kind of in depth analysis you come here to see), the Sharks (35-22-9, 3rd Pacific) host the St. Louis Blues (35-26-5, 6th Central) at our beloved SAP Center tonight. Both teams come into the evening rested, the Sharks coming off of a three day break and the Blues off of a four day snooze fest, so no excuses on that front. Further, the Sharks are only two points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings for the Western Conference's second wild card spot after losing second place to the Anaheim Ducks while idle, and the Blues are two points behind them, so there's no want of motivation.
St. Louis may be playing with chips on their proverbial shoulders after general manger Doug Armstrong took the controversial seller's stance at the trade deadline. Shipping Paul Stastny to the division rival Winnipeg Jets raised some pulses in the locker room for a team on the bubble, but acquiring what could be a first and fourth round pick for a pending unrestricted free agent is a good return for a team that, at the time, had lost six straight. If the Blues can get it together and make the postseason anyway, as they did last season after trading Kevin Shattenkirk to the Washington Capitals, it will look like a coup. Especially if Jake Allen turns into Patrick Roy for a full playoff series again.
That seems unlikely this year, as Allen's 2.83 goals against average and .904 save percentage has seen him ceding starts to his protegé and former Shark (technically) Carter Hutton. Hutton has started the last two games for the Blues, so he's not a back up any more, okay, Sharks? That means you're allowed to score on him. You won't hurt his feelings or anything. Update: Carter Hutton was hurt in morning skate, Allen will start so... I guess disregard this last paragraph or so. Ooh, but maybe we learned something, hey? Let's glass-half-full this thing!
Both squads are coming off of disappointing losses, as the Sharks dropped a 4-2 game to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday after almost erasing a 3-0 deficit, registering the second biggest disappointment of the night after Willem Dafoe left the Oscars empty-handed. The Blues let one point slip from their grasp the night before when they let Jamie Benn score in overtime, completing a comeback overtime victory for the Dallas Stars.
The Sharks' top line of Joe Pavelski, Joonas Donskoi, and trade deadline acquisition Evander Kane has combined for five goals and 16 points in three games since their inception, including the only two goals against Columbus on Sunday night. The look of the Western Conference could be very different by the end of the Blues' road trip through California, so let's hope the Sharks can hold off their valiant postseason push for one night and one night only.
Evander Kane -- Joe Pavelski -- Joonas Donskoi
Tomas Hertl -- Logan Couture -- Mikkel Boedker
Timo Meier -- Chris Tierney -- Kevin Labanc
Barclay Goodrow -- Eric Fehr -- Marcus Sorensen
Joakim Ryan -- Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon -- Dylan DeMelo
Scratched: Tim Heed, Paul Martin, Jannik Hansen
Injured: Joe Thornton (knee), Joel Ward (shoulder), Melker Karlsson (lower body)
Ward and Karlsson both skated with the team this morning, but while the coaching staff is referring to Karlsson as a game time decision (probably in place of Sorensen), Ward is still a ways a way.a
Alexander Steen -- Ivan Barbashev -- Vladimir Tarasenko
Jaden Schwartz -- Brayden Schenn -- Dmitrij Jaskin
Vladimir Sobotka-- Kyle Brodziak -- Patrik Berglund
Nikita Soshnikov -- Oskar Sundqvist -- Tage Thompson
Carl Gunnarsson -- Alex Pietrangelo
Vince Dunn -- Colton Parayko
Jordan Schmaltz -- Robert Bortuzzo
Scratched: Chris Thorburn
Injured: Jay Bouwmeester (hip), Scottie Upshall (knee), Joel Edmundson (broken forearm)
Where to watch
Broadcast: NBCSCA, FSMW
Stream: NHL.tv / NHL App
Radio: 98.5 KFOX / NHL App / Sharks App