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2012 WCQF Game 3 - Sharks @ Blues - April 16, 2012

by Eric Lindquist / San Jose Sharks


2012 Western Conference Quarterfinals - Game 3
#2 St. Louis Blues at #7 San Jose Sharks
7:00 PM (Pacific) - HP Pavilion - San Jose, CA
TV: CSN California HD  |  RADIO: KFOX 98.5/102.1 FM

STORYLINES

The San Jose Sharks face the #2 seed St. Louis Blues in Game 3 in the best of seven Western Conference First Round Stanley Cup Playoffs in San Jose on Monday. This is the 28th playoff series in franchise history for the Sharks (13-14) and the 4th playoff series meeting vs. the St. Louis Blues.

Previous Playoff Series vs. the Blues (all Quarterfinals series in the Western Conference)
2003-04 – the #2 seed San Jose Sharks defeat the #7 seed St. Louis Blues 4-1
2000-01 – the #4 seed St. Louis Blues defeat the #5 seed San Jose Sharks 4-3
1999-00 – the #8 seed San Jose Sharks defeat the #1 seed St. Louis Blues 4-3

RECAP GAME 2:
The St. Louis Blues tied up the best of seven series 1-1 with a 3-0 win in Game 2 on Saturday night behind 12 saves by Jaroslav Halak and 19 by Brian Elliott. Vladimir Sobotka scored in the first, David Backes in the second, and Andy McDonald in the third period.

The game featured four sets of fighting majors and included a game ending brawl that saw Justin Braun and Douglas Murray receiving majors for fighting and game misconducts.

Antti Niemi made 30 saves in the loss for the Sharks.

MATCH-UPS TO WATCH

After a 3-2 win in double overtime in Game 1 for the Sharks, the Blues returned back to regular season form by blanking the Sharks in Game 2. A lucky bounce (Vlasic firing puck into own net) for the Blues in the first two minutes of Game 2 gave the young Blues all the momentum they needed to tie the series.

Game 2 took a nasty tone with the two teams combining for 132 penalty minutes which should set for a rather intense Game 3 in San Jose.

Let’s break it down through Game 2:

The BIG THREE:
The Sharks top line of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau , and Joe Pavelski have yet to find a point through the first two games. That will have to change if the Sharks are to win the series. The Big Three combined for 79 goals in the regular season.

In Goal:
Brian Elliott is expected to get the Start for the Blues stepping in relief of an injured Jaroslav Halak in Game 2. Elliott had a 1.56GAA and a .940 save percentage during the regular season. The Sharks need to get traffic in front of Elliott to be successful in Game 3.

SHARK BITES

Game 3…. San Jose is 17-10 all-time in Game 3’s with an 8-3 record at home all-time.

OT in Game 3?... six of the last Game 3’s for the Sharks have ended up in OT with the Sharks going 3-3 in those games,

Joe Thornton holds the Sharks playoffs record with 52 career assists and third with five game winning goals.

Stats
2 GP 2
1 W 1
1 L 1
1 OT 0
109 P 96
0.500 P% 0.500
2.50 G/G 1.50
1.50 GA/G 2.50
22.2 PP% 14.3
85.7 PK% 77.8
37.0 S/G 31.5
31.5 SA/G 37.0
53.3 FO% 46.7
Date Vis/Home Final
April 14, 2012 SJS@STL STL, 3 - 0
April 12, 2012 SJS@STL SJS, 3 - 2

BLUES NOTES

Kris Russell did not have a fighting major this season before he dropped the mitts with Joe Pavelski in the 2nd period vs. Joe Pavelski for the Blues.

St. Louis has now shut out the Sharks in 3-of-4 home games this season.

The Blues had a 19-16-6 record on the road this season and gave up the fewest goal in the NHL on enemy territory (92)

INJURY REPORT

Dominic Moore is reported to have a broken nose for the Sharks while Jaroslav Halak left Game 2 with an injury and is listed as day-to-day.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING: JOE PAVELSKI

"No one's backing down and we believe in here that we're going to be there right at the end. This is when we need to rise up, this is our chance and our time. It's a good series for us."

BOTTOM LINE

The Sharks can’t wait to get things kicked off for Game 3 tonight at the HP Pavilion with the series tied at 1-1. San Jose wanted to win one game on the road in St. Louis, and they did just that as they head home with home ice advantage. Game 3’s are always HUGE, especially when the series is tied at 1-1. Look for the Sharks to come out flying in Game 3 by building off the energy of the home crowd. Coach McLellan will have the final line change on home ice and watch for favorable matchups for the Sharks top line of Thornton, Marleau, and Pavelski.

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