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Preview: Sharks at Blues

San Jose center Melker Karlsson likely to miss second straight game; St. Louis forwards Vladimir Tarasenko, Alexander Steen game-time decisions

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

SHARKS (9-7-0) at BLUES (8-6-3)

8 p.m. ET; FS-MW, CSN-CA, NHL.TV


Sharks team scope

San Jose Sharks center Melker Karlsson is expected to miss his second straight game because of an ankle injury sustained after blocking a shot in a 3-1 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Nov. 12. The Sharks play the St. Louis Blues for the first time since Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference Final. "Nothing can recreate a conference final or a Stanley Cup," coach Peter DeBoer said. "The emotions, the adrenaline, everything that goes with that. There's obviously a little bit of a letdown when you start from scratch the next year in October and start building it. I think that's natural, but it's no excuse. You still have to find ways to win games and put up points, and give yourselves the opportunity to go at it again next spring." The Sharks are 3-1-0 on their season-long six-game road trip and come off a 1-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday. "I think we're in a good spot," DeBoer said. "I think we're building our game and I like a lot of the things we're doing. We just have to string together some wins. We have a chance to put together a pretty good road trip here with a couple wins." Goalie Martin Jones will start.


Blues team scope

Forwards Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexander Steen are game-time decisions with undisclosed injuries, though Steen was on the ice during an optional skate Thursday. "We're going to take the whole group into the warmup, including [Nail] Yakupov and [Ty] and Rattie, and we'll let you know there," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We can't 100 percent tell you whether [Steen and Tarasenko] are going to play right now, so everybody's in the warmup, maybe even including [Robert] Bortuzzo and we'll see from there." Bortuzzo (lower body) has missed the past nine games but has been skating daily since Sunday. The Blues will look to continue to continue their strong start on home ice; they're 6-1-2 at Scottrade Center. "At least since I've been here, we've had years where it's flip-flopped," defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. "We've had good road records and bad home records and vice versa." Goalie Jake Allen starts for St. Louis. "You always have it in the back of your mind; you don't lean on it too heavily," Allen said of losing to San Jose in six games last spring. "We know what they did to us. We had an opportunity to go to the finals and they did."


Sharks projected lineup

Joel Ward -- Joe Thornton -- Joe Pavelski

Mikkel Boedker -- Logan Couture -- Joonas Donskoi

Patrick Marleau -- Tomas Hertl -- Kevin Labanc

Matt Nieto -- Chris Tierney -- Tommy Wingels

Paul Martin -- Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon -- David Schlemko

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

Scratched: Micheal Haley, Dylan DeMelo  

Injured: Melker Karlsson (ankle)

Blues projected lineup

Jaden Schwartz -- Paul Stastny -- Alexander Steen

Robby Fabbri -- Jori Lehtera -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Dmitrij Jaskin -- Patrik Berglund -- David Perron

Scottie Upshall -- Kyle Brodziak -- Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester -- Alex Pietrangelo

Carl Gunnarsson -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Petteri Lindbohm -- Colton Parayko

Jake Allen

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Nail Yakupov, Ty Rattie  

Injured: Robert Bortuzzo (lower body), Joel Edmundson (upper body)


Status report

With Karlsson unavailable, Nieto will play for the third time in 11 games and Haley will be a healthy scratch for the fifth straight game. … Jaskin skated in Steen's slot during practice Wednesday and will likely play on the top line if Steen is unavailable. Yakupov, a healthy scratch four of the past six games, would slot in on a line with Berglund and Perron.


Who's hot

Burns has a point in four of his past six games (three goals, one assist). Thornton has 53 points (14 goals, 39 assists) in 47 games against the Blues. … Tarasenko has a six-game point streak (two goals, seven assists) and leads the Blues with 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in 17 games. Shattenkirk has a goal and three assists in his past two games. Perron has four assists in his past two games.

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