For the second time this week, the San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues will face off in St. Louis. Back on Thursday, the Blues (10-5-2) rallied to tie the game late in the third before winning 3-2 in overtime over the Sharks (6-7-2).
On a busy Saturday of NHL action, here’s a look at some of the stats and players to know heading into this matchup. St. Louis is a comfortable favorite at home, listed at -180, while San Jose is +150 as the underdog.
By the Numbers
The Blues have the advantage in several offensive categories. St. Louis is averaging 3.18 goals per game, good for 11th in the NHL, on 30.5 shots. San Jose, meanwhile, is about the same when it comes to shots on goal but is just 25h with an average of 2.4 goals per game.
The Blues also rank at or near the top-10 in shooting percentage and faceoff percentage, with the Sharks in the bottom-third of the league in both. However, at 16.7 percent, San Jose’s power play is slightly better than St. Louis’ 14.8.
Goals allowed is another area that favors St. Louis. The Blues are giving up 2.88 goals per game and 29.7 shots, 18th, and 17th in the league, respectively. Meanwhile, the Sharks are allowing 3.53 goals, the second-most in hockey, on 32.3 shots. But these teams are about the same when they’re shorthanded, with San Jose owning a slight 75.4 to 74.2 percent advantage on the penalty kill.
Sharks Betting Preview
It’s been a tough go this season for the Sharks, who currently reside in a tie for eighth place in the Western Division. San Jose has not only dropped three of their last four games but has failed to win even two games in a row this season. They’ll now take on a Blues team who has beaten them in two out of three meetings this season, although each game was separated by a single score, and two of the games needed extra time to decide.
The Sharks rely quite a bit on their key veterans to carry the load. The leader of that group is Logan Couture, who has scored a team-high seven goals to add to his team-leading 13 points. Following Couture is a pair of players tied at 10 points; Tomas Hertl and Evander Kane. Hertl has the scoring advantage with six goals and half of his points coming on the power play, while Kane has six assists and a team-high 28 penalty minutes. Ryan Donato and Brent Burns are decent options as well, coming into Saturday’s game with eight and seven points, respectively.
The Sharks have leaned mostly on Martin Jones in net, with Devan Dubnyk being used half as often. However, with Jones facing the Blues on Thursday and getting tested with 45 shots, look for Dubnyk to step in. The former Wild goalie is still looking for his first win in his Sharks career but carries a respectably 2.71 GAA, and .916 save percentage.
Blues Betting Preview
The Blues have faced some adversity this season when it comes to the schedule, highlighted by a stretch in which they played the Coyotes seven straight times. But with that past them, St. Louis has won three out of four, their second solid stretch of winning during the season.
However, they haven’t been entirely consistent, trading off wins and losses in their first seven games and following up a four-game winning streak with a three-game losing streak. They will look to keep it rolling against a Sharks team they’ve comfortably out-shot and out-played twice this season.
Thursday’s overtime hero was David Perron, and the veteran is once again having a great time in St. Louis. Perron leads the team with 18 points, 12 of which come via the assist, and a team-high seven power-play points. Three players are tied for second in points on the Blues; Ryan O’Reilly, Brayden Schenn, and Jordan Kyrou.
Schenn is the Blues’ leader with eight goals, but he is closely followed by the 22-year old Kyrou and his six goals. In addition, newcomer Mike Hoffman has been a nice addition with six goals and assists each, while d-men Torey Krug and Justin Faulk each have eight or more points.
Unlike San Jose, there is no potential timeshare brewing in net for St. Louis. Jordan Binnington is continuing his run as one of the better goalies in all of hockey, going 8-3-2 with a 2.34 GAA and .919 save percentage. Although he just started Thursday, expect Binnington to man the crease again on Saturday.
As much of a mismatch this game has looked on paper, these teams have found a way to keep it tightly-contested in all three meetings. However, the Blues have won the shot-battle considerably in their two wins, as the Sharks struggle to keep either Jones and Dubnyk from getting lots of action. In addition, San Jose will once again be without defenseman Erik Karlsson, a key cog on the power play, after he was placed on injured reserve earlier this week. Go with the favorite and bet the Blues to win this one at home.
Pick: Blues -180