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Blues set to host struggling Sharks

by Sean McCullen

SHARKS (20-7-6) at BLUES (22-6-4)


Last 10: San Jose 5-4-1; St. Louis 6-3-1

Season series: This is the third and final game between the teams. The San Jose Sharks won the first two games against the St. Louis Blues by a combined score of 12-5. San Jose forward Brent Burns scored a hat trick in the Sharks' 6-3 win at SAP Center on Nov. 29.

Big story: St. Louis has lost two games in regulation on home ice (13-2-2), and one of those losses came against San Jose on Oct. 15. The Blues will be looking to avenge the earlier loss at Scottrade Center, in which the Sharks got goals from six different players on their way to a 6-2 win.

Team Scope:

Sharks: San Jose has dropped five of six (1-4-1), including a 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

Coach Todd McLellan sent a message to Burns and Logan Couture at practice Monday, assigning each a teal jersey indicative of assignment to the team’s third and fourth lines, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

"There's some players that haven't produced that we really count on a lot," McLellan said. "And maybe it's an opportunity to shake things up a little bit."

McLellan did not commit to demoting the two forwards from the top six for the St. Louis game.

Burns has not scored in eight games, and Couture has two goals in his past 15 games.

Blues: St. Louis lost to the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in overtime Monday night. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak.

The Blues will play San Jose without captain David Backes, who left the game Monday with an upper-body injury sustained on a hit by Senators forward Colin Greening.

St. Louis could not hold onto the one-goal lead it held after two second-period goals by Chris Stewart. Bobby Ryan tied it for the Senators at 5:44 of the third and rookie defenseman Cody Ceci scored the game-winner at 3:59 of overtime.

Coach Ken Hitchcock was not disappointed with his team's play in the overtime loss, particularly in the second period. He expected a good effort from Ottawa after the Senators lost 5-2 to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

"I thought the way we played in the second period was great. The second period was one of the best road periods we've played all year. We really took it to them and really hemmed them in, and at times overwhelmed them with our forecheck, so I was really happy. I was happy with the point.

"You know, disappointed that we lost it the way we did, it was too bad. [We] made a few errors on the 4-on-4 stuff, but overall the way we played in the second and third period was pretty impressive. We were down three, four top forwards … that's pretty impressive."

Who's hot: Sharks center Joe Pavelski has three goals his past three games. … Stewart has four goals his past three games after scoring twice in Ottawa.

Injury report: Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan (upper body) is day-to-day. Forwards Mike Brown (lower body), Adam Burish (lower body) and Raffi Torres (knee) are on injured reserve. … St. Louis may be without forwards Vladimir Sobotka (upper body) and Jaden Schwartz (undisclosed), both of whom sat out against Ottawa. Defenseman Jordan Leopold (finger surgery) and right wing Ryan Reaves (hand) are on IR.

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