San Jose is one win away from playing for the Stanley Cup and here is how they can get that done.
The San Jose Sharks have amassed more wins (11) than any other team in franchise history during this postseason run, but it’s the 12th one that team teal and their fans seek. A win in Game 6 will send San Jose to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in their 25-year history.
In order to do so, the Sharks will have to get past the St. Louis Blues who have faced elimination in every postseason series to date.
San Jose heads into tonight’s contest with plenty of confidence after Joe Pavelski scored a pair of goals in an 103-second span, including his fourth game-winning goal of these playoffs, to lead team teal to a big 6-3 victory on Monday night.
Captain clutch’s heroics sets up the biggest game in SAP Center history as the Sharks can move on to where no San Jose team has gone before.
With that in mind, here are three keys for the Sharks to close out this series over the Blues:
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1. Power Play
San Jose has been carried throughout these playoffs by a deadly power play, and they showed how effective it can be in their Game 5 win. Team teal went 2-for-3 last time out and has gone 4-for-10 with the man advantage in their three victories in this series.
The Sharks were able to re-establish their puck movement and outworked the Blues. Also, San Jose seized their opportunities when they arose as both extra-man goals tied things up in Game 5.
Team teal must continue to work for their chances on the power play, and if they can capitalize like they did on Monday night, the Blues will have a tough time defeating these Sharks.
2. Top Line Keeps Dominating
The saying always goes that in order to win in the postseason, your best players have to be at their best. Well, in this series, San Jose’s top line has done just that.
The trio of Joe Pavelski (three goals, five assists), Joe Thornton (six assists) and Tomas Hertl (three goals, one assist) are the three leading scorers for the Sharks in this series with a combined six goals, 12 assists, 18 points and a plus-nine rating.
The Blues have had no answers for slowing this line down as they’ve tried a myriad of different lines that haven’t gotten the job done. One more big night, whether in Game 6 or a potential Game 7, from this dynamic trio could carry San Jose to the Cup Final.
3. Team Defense
San Jose has done a phenomenal job of limiting Blues sniper Vladimir Tarasenko throughout this series. Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun have done a great job in keeping Tarasenko off the scoresheet all together, but the Sharks will need everyone to commit to being strong in their own zone.
No careless penalties, manage the puck, strong break outs and team teal should be in great shape. Martin Jones has been solid when team teal has needed him most, including the end of Game 5 where he came up with some big saves to preserve the lead.
The fourth win is always the most difficult to attain, but the Sharks will have a frenzied crowd behind them rocking the Shark Tank. They’ve waited 25 years for this moment, and San Jose is just one 60-minute performance away from delivering it to them.