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5 Keys: Sharks at Blues, Game 6

St. Louis can advance to Stanley Cup Final with win; San Jose without injured Karlsson, Hertl

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / Staff Writer



St. Louis leads best-of-7 series 3-2

The St. Louis Blues can advance to the Stanley Cup Final with a win against the San Jose Sharks in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final at Enterprise Center on Tuesday.

The Blues last reached the Cup Final in 1970, when they were swept by the Boston Bruins. They're 2-0 when they have a chance to clinch a series in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs and 16-9 all-time in potential series-clinching games at home.


[RELATED: Full Sharks vs. Blues series coverage]


Here are 5 keys for Game 6:


1. Replacing Hertl, Karlsson, Pavelski

Sharks forward Tomas Hertl and defenseman Erik Karlsson will not play, and forward Joe Pavelski is a game-time decision after each was injured in Game 5.

Hertl is second on the Sharks with 10 goals in 19 games and Karlsson is second with 16 points (two goals, 14 assists) in 19 games. Pavelski has nine points (four goals, five assists) in 13 games.

Defenseman Tim Heed will play. Forwards Dylan Gambrell and Micheal Haley likely will replace Hertl and Pavelski, if the latter can't play.

"All three of those guys are important guys but if we have them, great, if we don't, then next man up and we've got to find a way to get the job done," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said.


2. Another home clincher for Blues?

After starting the playoffs with two straight losses at Enterprise Center, the Blues are 4-3 at home with two of those wins series clinchers. They defeated the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 in Game 6 of the first round and the Dallas Stars 2-1 in overtime in Game 7 of the second round.

"We just tried to carry that same mindset back over to the home games," Blues defenseman and captain Alex Pietrangelo said. "We're playing a simpler game at home right now than we were before and that seems to work for us. ... Our whole mindset has been play every game the same way and clinch, not clinch, if we're down or up in the series, just keep playing, so I kind of got the same vibe from everybody today. That's just how we're treating them."


3. Sharks impressive in elimination games

San Jose is 4-0 when facing elimination, winning three straight games against the Vegas Golden Knights when trailing the first round 3-1, and defeating the Colorado Avalanche in Game 7 of the second round.

"That's good experience to have in the past," Sharks forward Joonas Donskoi said. "We've been in this situation before, and it's not done yet. It's one game at a time, and we focus on the game in St. Louis and we are looking forward to bringing it back here to Game 7."


4. Stingy defense from Blues

St. Louis has allowed one goal in its past two games after giving up 13 in its first three. The Blues have taken 12 minor penalties in five games (two power-play goals allowed) and have remained disciplined when San Jose has pushed them.

"I think we've gotten better as the series has went on," Blues forward Jaden Schwartz said. "Usually that's the case. As the series has gone on, you want to try and find your game a little bit more, get better in certain areas, make adjustments. As the series goes, you get closer to winning. I'm sure they want to do the same thing and tonight will be no different.


5. San Jose must remain disciplined

After going 6-for-6 on the penalty kill in the first two games of the series, the Sharks have allowed one power-play goal in each of the past three games. They will also be without Hertl, one of their best forward penalty killers.

In Game 5, the Sharks took seven minor penalties, giving the Blues 10:09 of power-play time that included two 5-on-3 opportunities. The Blues scored on one of them in the third period, and the extended time in their zone hurt the Sharks' chances to generate anything offensively.


Sharks projected lineup

Timo Meier -- Logan Couture - Gustav Nyquist

Evander Kane -- Joe Pavelski -- Joonas Donskoi 

Melker Karlsson -- Joe Thornton -- Kevin Labanc

Barclay Goodrow -- Dylan Gambrell -- Micheal Haley

Joakim Ryan -- Brent Burns

Brenden Dillon -- Tim Heed

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

Scratched: Marcus Sorensen, Lukas Radil, Radim Simek, Antti Suomela

Injured: Tomas Hertl (undisclosed), Erik Karlsson (undisclosed)


Blues projected lineup

Jaden Schwartz -- Brayden Schenn -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Sammy Blais -- Ryan O'Reilly -- David Perron

Pat Maroon -- Tyler Bozak -- Robert Thomas

Ivan Barbashev -- Oskar Sundqvist -- Alexander Steen

Joel Edmundson -- Alex Pietrangelo

Jay Bouwmeester -- Colton Parayko

Carl Gunnarsson -- Robert Bortuzzo

Jordan Binnington

Jake Allen

Scratched: Robby Fabbri, Michael Del Zotto, Zach Sanford, Mackenzie MacEachern, Chris Thorburn, Ville Husso

Injured: Vince Dunn (upper body)


Status report

The Blues will use the same lineup from Game 5.

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