The San Jose Sharks get set to take on the St. Louis Blues in Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals tonight at 7pm! 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 3, let’s take a closer look at the GAME INSIDE THE GAME for the Sharks and the Blues!
"Our goal is to win, first and foremost. I think that's the best payback we can have, sending these guys home. And I'm sure that they're thinking the same thing." – Dan Boyle
The Sharks and the Blues combined for 132 penalty minutes on Saturday night with four sets of fighting majors in a nasty playoff game. The Sharks were unhappy with the “sucker punch” by Vladimir Sobotka that broke the nose of Dominic Moore
during the post game brawl while the Blues were not thrilled with some “questionable” hits rolled out by the Sharks.
There were 724 penalty minutes called through the first 19 NHL playoff games this season, according to Elias Sports Bureau. That's the most the NHL has seen since the 2006 playoffs opened with 804 penalty minutes in 19 games.
There were only 12 fights in the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, with many of those occurring in the finals between the Bruins and the Canucks. Already this playoff season, there have been 11 sets of fighting majors and the playoff season is only a week old.
More to come in Game 3? Time will tell.
LINEUP CHANGES FOR GAME 3
SAN JOSE: despite the broken nose to Dominic Moore
, he has stated that he is healthy enough to play. Media reports that Brad Winchester
may be in the lineup for the Sharks to add a little more sand paper to the lineup after a nasty Game 2.
ST. LOUIS: Jaroslav Halak was injured in Game 2 and replaced by Brian Elliott in goal. St. Louis made changes several after Game 1, and one would expect that they keep the same lineup from Game 2 heading into tonight’s matchup.
MATCHUPS TO STAY THE SAME?
With having home ice advantage, the Sharks now have the luxury of making the final line change and can try to set up the line matchups in their favor. In Game’s 1 and 2, 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). Look for coach McLellan to mix things up tonight vs. the Blues.
DID YOU KNOW?
Fisticuffs... The Sharks had the 15th most fighting majors in the NHL during the regular season with 35, while the Blues had 42 fighting majors good for 7th most. The Sharks and the Blues lead the NHL with four fighting majors each in the playoffs.
Game 3 success…. The Sharks have won three straight Game 3’s heading into tonight’s game including an 8-3 record on home ice.
Close Games… the Sharks have played ten straight one goal games in Game 3’s with a 6-4 record in those games.
PIMS… Ryan Clowe is the all-time Sharks leader in penalty minutes in the playoffs with 97 penalty minutes in 65 games played.
THE BOTTOM LINE
With all the bad blood heading into Game 3, the Sharks do not want to get into a slug fest during this opening series vs. the Blues. The Sharks have been solid all season at home and have a 37-31 record in San Jose all-time in the Stanley Cup playoffs and can grab the series lead with a win tonight. With the top line for the Sharks held scoreless for the first two game, watch for coach McLellan to take advantage of the last line change on home ice tonight vs. the Blues.