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game preview

Sharks at Blues preview

San Jose plays in St. Louis for first time since Western Conference Final

by Louie Korac / Independent Correspondent

SHARKS (19-21-4) at BLUES (26-10-7)


The Game

The San Jose Sharks will play the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center for the first time since the 2019 Western Conference Final on Tuesday.

The Blues eliminated the Sharks with a 5-1 win in Game 6 on May 21.

St. Louis is looking to start a season-long five-game homestand with its first win in four games. The Blues went 0-2-1 during a three-game road trip and were outscored 15-8. That includes a 5-4 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday that saw them blow a 3-0 first-period lead.

The Sharks are 3-1-1 in their past five games and will play the finale of a five-game road trip.

Players to watch

Sharks center Joe Thornton has six points (one goal, five assists) in the past six games. He'll play his 1,611th NHL game, one behind Ray Bourque for 11th in NHL history.

Blues center Ryan O'Reilly has nine points (one goal, eight assists) during a seven-game point streak at home.

They said it

"When you watch the games, it's the commitment to the defending. I think that we're defending harder." -- Sharks coach Bob Boughner

"Of course very excited. It's the moment I've been waiting for like so long. I've done a lot of work for this opportunity. I'm excited." -- Blues defenseman Niko Mikkola on making his NHL debut

Sharks projected lineup

Tomas Hertl -- Logan Couture -- Patrick Marleau

Evander Kane -- Barclay Goodrow -- Timo Meier

Marcus Sorensen -- Joe Thornton -- Kevin Labanc

Melker Karlsson -- Joel Kellman -- Stefan Noesen

Brenden Dillon -- Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Erik Karlsson

Radim Simek -- Mario Ferraro

Aaron Dell

Martin Jones

Scratched: Tim Heed, Joachim Blichfeld, Antti Suomela

Injured: Dalton Prout (upper body)

Blues projected lineup

Jaden Schwartz -- Brayden Schenn -- Jordan Kyrou

Zach Sanford -- Ryan O'Reilly -- David Perron

Alexander Steen -- Robert Thomas -- Tyler Bozak

Mackenzie MacEachern -- Ivan Barbashev -- Oskar Sundqvist

Vince Dunn -- Alex Pietrangelo

Jay Bouwmeester -- Justin Faulk

Niko Mikkola -- Robert Bortuzzo

Jordan Binnington

Jake Allen

Scratched: Troy Brouwer, Jacob de la Rose

Injured: Vladimir Tarasenko (shoulder), Sammy Blais (wrist), Carl Gunnarsson (arm), Colton Parayko (upper body)

Status report

Mikkola will replace Parayko, who will miss his second straight game. … Gunnarsson is close to returning, but coach Craig Berube said he wants to get him into some practice situations first. ... Blais has resumed skating but is still about three weeks from returning.

Stat pack

Meier has six points (three goals, three assists) in his past five games. ... Perron and Schwartz each has 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in their past nine games. ... Pietrangelo has 11 points (five goals, six assists) in his past seven games.

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