San Jose looks to close road trip strong against a pair of Western Conference playoff teams.
After beginning their five-game road trip with three games throughout the Southeast, the San Jose Sharks return to face a pair of Western Conference foes in the St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche.
When the Sharks hit the ice against the Blues, they will face a completely different style of team than the ones they’ve faced thus far. St. Louis is a physical team that likes to play a dump-and-chase game and enact a toll against their opponents.
Meanwhile, San Jose will face a completely different challenge two nights later when they take on Colorado. The Avalanche are a team built on speed and like to play a transition game.
The differences in terms of style of play will make for an interesting dichotomy as the Sharks conclude their trip.
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Tomorrow night, San Jose can expect a tight-checking, low-scoring affair as the Blues are one of the top defensive units in all of the NHL. Currently, St. Louis ranks fourth in the league in goals against per game, while they have one of the top goaltenders manning the nets.
Brian Elliott is having a stellar season for the Blues as he leads the NHL with a 2.06 goals-against-average and .931 save percentage.
One advantage for the Sharks is they faced this same Blues team just 18 days ago at Scottrade Center as San Jose defeated Elliott behind goals from Joonas Donskoi, Joe Thornton and Matt Nieto.
While San Jose will still be without the services of Brenden Dillon and Tommy Wingels, they have shown the ability to bounce back from tough defeats and they will look to do the same in St. Louis.
With the road trip concluding in Colorado, the Sharks will face an Avalanche team that possesses plenty of offensive firepower led by Matt Duchene.
Colorado is far from the defensive powerhouse that St. Louis is as they rank 21st in goals against, and they were lit up by this same San Jose team last time they met. The Sharks destroyed the Avalanche by a 6-1 margin just before the All-Star break as team teal put on an offensive clinic.
However, the Sharks will have to be on their toes in the defensive end as the Avalanche can make teams pay in an instant. San Jose witnessed first hand the explosive nature of Colorado back on Dec. 28 when the Avalanche beat the Sharks 6-3 behind the strength of four power play goals.
With the Eastern Conference part of the road trip behind them, San Jose can focus on teams they are competing against in the Western Conference playoff picture.
The loss to Carolina was a missed opportunity, but the Sharks will look to make amends by closing strong against two completely different challenges this week.