Sharks look to avenge earlier season loss to Blues



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15-9-1, 31 points 16-9-3, 35 points
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As a result of their 5-2 victory over the Dallas Stars at HP Pavilion Thursday night, the San Jose Sharks {15-9-1 with 31 points} find themselves tied with the Stars for second place in the Western Conference Pacific Division, two points behind the division leading Phoenix Coyotes.

Tonight, the Sharks play their first game of a three-in-four road trip as they travel to the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, MO, to play the hosting St. Louis Blues {16-9-3 with 35 points} in their second meeting of the season. The Sharks, who have won seven of their 10 road games this season, are 10-2-1 in their last 13 visits to St. Louis.

Back on Oct. 15, the Blues went into HP Pavilion and defeated the Sharks, 4-2, due to the Sharks surrendering three unanswered goals in the third period to defenseman Kent Huskins, alternate captain Alexander Steen {game winning goal} and captain David Backes {empty net goal}.

Torrey Mitchell was the only Sharks player to have a positive plus-minus rating {+1} in the loss to the Blues. Despite registering two assists in the game, Ryane Clowe, along with Brent Burns, Brad Winchester, Andrew Desjardins and Jason Demers were all a minus-two; Dan Boyle, Logan Couture, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton and Colin White were all a minus-one.

Antti Niemi, who did not play in the Oct. 15 game due to injury, is 4-2 in six career starts against the Blues with a 2.86 goals against average and a .915 save percentage.

The Blues, who are currently in third place of the Western Conference Central Division and just three points behind the division leading Chicago Blackhawks, come into the game riding a two game winning streak with wins over the Detroit Red Wings, 3-2, and the Anaheim Ducks, 4-2.

Overall, the Blues have won six of their last eight games and have earned at least one point in 13-of-15 games {10-2-3} since Ken Hitchcock took over the head coaching reigns from Davis Payne back on Nov. 6.

One thing that hasn’t changed in St. Louis is the continuing goalie controversy between $15 million man Jaroslav Halak and $600,000 man Brian Elliott. After starting the season 1-6, Halak has improved his record to 5-7-3 with a 2.37 goals against average and a .903 save percentage. However, Elliott, who had 34 saves in the Oct. 15 win, is 11-2 with a league leading 1.56 goals against average and a .944 save percentage.

In addition, tonight’s game marks the first time Blues forward David Perron will play against the Sharks since being hit by Thornton on Nov. 4, 2010. Perron, who missed 97 games as the result of the Thornton hit, has registered a goal and an assist in his first three games back.

It will be interesting to see how Blues fans react to Thornton, especially since Perron {@DP_57} tweeted the following hours before his first game back on Dec. 3, "Just got a very classy text from Joe Thornton wishing me good luck for tonight! He is a class act! Nap time and then game on!"

Lastly, while former Sharks forward Jonathan Cheechoo will not be called up from the Peoria Rivermen for this game, Cheechoo fans will be happy to know that through 25 games, Cheechoo leads the Rivermen with 79 shots on goal and is the third leading scorer with 19 points on eight goals and 11 assists. Cheechoo also registered his 500th and 501st career professional points with an assist and a goal on Nov. 27 in the Rivermen’s 4-0 victory over the Chicago Wolves.