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Game Inside the Game: WCQF Game 2 - Sharks @ Blues - April 14, 2012

by Eric Lindquist / San Jose Sharks


The San Jose Sharks get set to take on the St. Louis Blues in Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals today at 4:30pm. Please note all games will be carried LIVE locally on CSNCA-HD / 98.5-102.1 FM KFOX and the Sharks Radio Network

Each game day, SJSHARKS.COM will take a look at the “Game inside the Game” as the Sharks continue their quest toward the Stanley Cup. Line matchups, player vs. player battles, head-to-head stats, and key figures highlighted each game day.

Before Game 2, let’s take a closer look at the GAME INSIDE THE GAME for the Sharks and the Blues!

THE SHARKS HOPE TO GET BOO'D TONIGHT IN ST. LOUIS

“The Boos on the road are encouraged. That means you are doing something right,” said San Jose Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle before Game 2.

The Sharks had the Scottrade Center rather quiet for the first 40 minutes in Game 1 before Patrik Berglund scored in the opening minute of the third period. St. Louis fans having been itching for a playoff game win as the last playoff victory came eight years ago today in 2004. The Sharks would love to hear more boos tonight before the series shifts to San Jose for Game 3 on Monday.

LINEUP CHANGES FOR GAME 2

SAN JOSE: no reports of any changes in Game 2 for the San Jose Sharks as the Sharks came out healthy after Game 1.

ST. LOUIS: no injuries reported for the Blues after Game 1, however reports have St. Louis possibly making up to three changes to their group of 18 tonight for Game 2. Carlo Colaiacovo, Matt D’Agostini, and BJ Crombeen could all get in a look in Game 2 while Kent Huskins, Ryan Reaves, and Chris Stewart could take a seat.

MATCHUPS TO STAY THE SAME

With having home ice advantage, the Blues have the luxury of making the final line change and can try to set up the line matchups in their favor. In Game 1, coach Ken Hitchcock had his top line of Perron, Backes, and Oshie (64 regular season goals combined) lined up against the Sharks top line of Marleau, Thornton, and Pavelski (79 regular season goals combined). Neither top line found the back of the net in Game 1. It should be interesting to see if the Blues continue to carry the top line vs. top line strategy in Game 2.

DID YOU KNOW?

*Visions of 1995?... the Sharks have not gone ahead 2-0 in a series that started on the road since winning Game 1 and 2 at the Saddledome in Calgary in 1995. San Jose took Game 1 5-4 with Jamie Baker grabbing the game winner followed by a 5-4OTW in Game 2 on May 9, 1995 on an Ulf Dahlen game winner at 12:21 in OT. The Sharks went on to win that series 4-3.

*Make it 3?… The Sharks hope to join the Kings and the Flyers by taking a 2-0 series lead on the road in their respected series. The Kings won both games in Vancouver while the Flyers beat the Penguins twice in Pittsburgh.

*Lot’s of ice…Dan Boyle led all skaters in Game 1 with 35:10 worth of ice time followed by Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo racking up 33:11.

THE BOTTOM LINE

The Sharks stole Game 1 with terrific goaltending by Antti Niemi and an overtime game winner by Martin Havlat. Look for the Sharks to pick it up a gear in Game 2 as they are in great position to take a 2-0 series lead before heading home to San Jose. The young Blues team could be a fragile bunch if the Sharks can score early and ride the momentum of the overtime game winner from Game 1 into a two game sweep in St. Louis.

One last thing… Antti Niemi lists his hockey idol as Arturs Irbe. It was Arturs Irbe in goal for the San Jose Sharks in their last two game road sweep to kick off a playoff series on the road in Calgary in 1995.

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