With the St. Louis Blues leading the series, the San Jose Sharks look to get even at Scottrade Center in Game 2.
The San Jose Sharks got their first real look at this year’s postseason St. Louis Blues team on Sunday night, and unfortunately came up short in their attempt to take Game 1. Tonight, the Sharks look to even up the series as they try to bring back the road success they’ve had almost all year long.
Keys to the Game
Limit the Turnovers
This is absolutely critical. The Sharks need to eliminate their turnovers in the neutral zone. Both teams will be stressing defense, and it’s definitely something the Blues excel at. They’re a good defensive team, and they support it with offense on all four lines. They’re very deep, so as soon as they have the puck they’ll start firing and outworking their opponents.
Thus, puck possession will be extremely important for each team, more so for the Sharks. If I’m the Sharks’ coaches, I’m stressing simplicity. Don’t do too much. Do what you’re supposed to. Get pucks in deep. Make crisp, tape-to-tape passes. It’ll go a long way to winning this series.
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Like I said, both teams will be stressing defense, so defensive awareness will have to be key throughout this whole series, not just tonight. Look for Brent Burns to rebound in Game 2 after his costly neutral zone turnover resulted in Jori Lehtera‘s go-ahead goal. Roman Polak also needs to be better.
As always, the Sharks are going to need Martin Jones to hold the fort for them. While Jones doesn’t give up many soft goals, he unfortunately did on the Lehtera goal. He knows he has to be better especially on plays like that, and I think he’s going to be better tonight against Brian Elliott.
Net Front Presence
With a goalie as good as Elliott, you have to stress traffic in front of him. They did a pretty good job of that in Game 1, with the captain Joe Pavelski credited with an assist on Tomas Hertl‘s game-tying goal, but that was because of all the deflections in front. You need traffic in front of Elliott. You have to make him work for those saves. Get those tips and deflections, and screen the goalie. Look for the Sharks to continue doing that tonight.
Play Your Game
The reason why the Sharks had success against the Kings and the Nashville Predators was because they were playing their game. They had speed. They were strong on the forecheck. They were winning the races and the battles, and they were able to stick to their guns and beat both Jonathan Quick and Pekka Rinne, whom a lot of people thought were capable of stealing games.
Don’t get sucked into what St. Louis wants you to play. Just stick to what’s been working for you. The same applies against Elliott. He’s been a fantastic goalie so far, but even he can be beaten. Don’t let him get into your heads and stick with what works. Mental fortitude and resilience will be more key than ever against a deep St. Louis team.
|San Jose Sharks
|St. Louis Blues
|Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Joonas Donskoi
Melker Karlsson – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward
Dainius Zubrus – Nick Spaling – Tommy Wingels
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – Roman Polak
Martin Jones (starter)
James ReimerJaden Schwartz – Jori Lehtera – Vladimir Tarasenko
Robby Fabbri – Paul Stastny – Troy Brouwer
Patrik Berglund – Alexander Steen – David Backes
Scottie Upshall – Kyle Brodziak – Steve Ott
Jay Bouwmeester – Alex Pietrangelo
Joel Edmundson – Kevin Shattenkirk
Carl Gunnarsson – Colton Parayko
Brian Elliott (starter)
Sharks: Matt Nieto (undisclosed) is out.
Blues: Vladimir Tarasenko (birth of son) is probable.
TV: 5:00 p.m. PDT, NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
Radio: 98.5 KFOX